How to Cheat in a FitBit Challenge

September, 2015

Some say I’m a bit competitive.  I admit I certainly don’t like to back down from a challenge, especially when I’ve been doing a lot of smack talk and need to back it up.  This was the situation I found myself in recently as I discovered I was in 2nd place during a FitBit Workweek Hustle challenge.  It was a tough race and I was only about 2,000 steps behind.  So, rather than work harder, I decided to work smarter and won the challenge.  Here’s how I did it:

  1.  Found something tall to attach a servo-motor.  In this case, I had a SparkFun box available that fit the bill.
  2. I cut 2 small holes and secured 1/2″ bolts through the servo and the box.  I used a Hitec HS-485HB servo because that’s what I had lying around.
  3. I got some thin gauge wire and looped it through the servo horn a few times to give me a way to easily attach the Fitbit
  4. I looped my FitBit surge into the wires and fastened the band tight
  5. I attached the Servo to an Arduino Uno via 3 wires (+5V, GND, Signal)
  6. I opened the “Sweep” example code that came with the Servo library in the Arduio IDE.
  7. I made minor tweaks to the code to get the arm to move at the speed and distance I wanted in order to get a step to register.  The trick is to bottom out hard to register the step.

After a bit of trial and error, I had it working consistently.  The whole project took about 15 minutes.  With this rig, I get about 6,500 steps per hour.  Whew!  I’m tired just thinking about how much work that would have been!  I intentionally kept the speed lower in order to better control the number of steps so my results wouldn’t seem too extraordinary.  This rig gives new meaning to the term Workweek “Hustle”.



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