The Headache Machine

We all know that the use to which a particular technology can be put is only in your hands till such time that it becomes public. I wanted to find some weird uses of technology. This is what I love about the internet I tell you. Every time I want to find some weird examples, somebody has already helpfully written an article on it, leaving me to twiddle my thumbs and stand around. I love the one where the egg is fried on a hot laptop.

Anyway, the product I am about to touch upon today is the FitbitFitbit might have modeled its products for a range of uses such as measuring activity, promoting a healthy lifestyle or a move to encourage active living. I don’t think they saw it as a Headache Machine.

A friend of mine who works with preschool and elementary school children on a regular basis got herself a Fitbit. All day long, the curious children wanted to know what it was, why it was used and were thrilled with the fact that every time they pressed the button, a number bigger than before came up. In a few hours, the situation was encompassing a wide spectrum of emotions such as :

* Competitiveness (It must be 500 more. Nope: she was not walking while drinking that cup of water. Want to bet? )

* Entitlement (She will show it to me whenever I ask. I am a good boy.)

* Pessimism (Maybe it is only 2000 steps now – she sat for sometime, so it should have reduced steps said the algorithmic expert)

* Altruism (I am tired but I can walk with it for you to increase your step count)

Headache machine
Headache machine

One particularly persistent child asked to see the device about 7 times every 15 minutes.  It was at the end of this long day that she told them all that it was a headache machine. The children looked at it in awe and shushed themselves. Reminds me of this article I read a while ago on the Fitbit.

Sounds about right. A headache machine it is. Ever since I acquired one, I hold 10,000 steps as a holy grail. I don’t want to run because it records less strides for the same distance. I would rather sidle up to the daughter to get her to bring me the Fitbit from upstairs or invent a huge contraception to get me the Fitbit when I no longer have it, than to waste those steps in going to get it. Do unrecorded steps help in your statistics? No, they don’t! Yoga? Swimming? Cross-Fit? Don’t bother mentioning those forms of exercise that don’t count towards my step goals. The worst is when I am really tired and hit the bed and see 13689 on my fitbit. Just 311 steps more to make it a round 14000? Come on! I tell myself and off I go.

There are ways I could help myself I suppose, like not taking Fitbit with me, but what if I want to use it the next day? My weekly average numbers would take a toss.

What would really help is the calorie counter. The Fitbit helpfully counts the steps I take to forklift a load of <insert healthy or unhealthy snack here>, but does not tell me how much I ate? What it needs to do is detect the chomp rate and prorate the step counter accordingly. A headache for the company maybe ….

One thought on “The Headache Machine”

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