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Ellipto: a DIY Fitness Tracker and Dashboard In 70 Lines 32

New submitter InternetOfJim writes: "This is one of the most fun weekend projects I've done in a while — a fitness tracker for my elliptical trainer. But the real agenda was to figure out how lazy I could be via web services (Keen IO and Brace IO) and development platforms (Electric Imp). Quite lazy, as it turns out. I wound up with a working device and a nice realtime dashboard with no soldering, no backend to manage, and surprisingly little original code needed beyond the sensing and power conserving parts of the firmware and a little javascript to customize the dashboard."
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Ellipto: a DIY Fitness Tracker and Dashboard In 70 Lines

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  • What's up with all the glorified pedometers these days? When I read 'fitness tracker' I was thinking about something that tracks your fitness, not just your steps. He could also install any of the thousands of pedometer apps on his android phone and be done with it.

    • by cdrudge ( 68377 )

      Because it wouldn't give a chance for the author to plug his wife's company in a Slashvertisement.

    • Pedometers (devices and apps) seem to work poorly on elliptical trainers and won't work at all on bicycles. So if you want to track these activities , it's helpful to have multiple specialized trackers that know what's going on for different use cases and then combine the data in the cloud. Combining the data is a project for another day, however. I'm sure future elliptical and exercise bikes will build that functionality in. This is the general trend a lot of us expect-- lots of small, specialized devices
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 11, 2014 @03:19PM (#47215637)

    New submitter InternetOfJim writes:

    So, the other day, my lovely wife Caroline came home with an Imp. An Electric Imp, to be precise—a WiFi sensor/actuator node in the form factor of an SD card. It’s supposed to be designed for simple development and low power consumption. Electric Imp had just completed an integration with Keen IO (Caroline’s company). Keen IO is a powerful platform for backend analytics— you just send them the data and you can build beautiful dashboards by inserting simple javascript onto an HTML page.

    Stop. InternetOfJim, it's good that you came clean on the fact that this is your wife's company, but you really needed a bold "disclaimer" in both the summary and article for me to think this is anything but a self-serving post to advertise something that will profit your wife and, by obvious extension, you. The fact that this is your first /. submission only supports this.

    • by TheCarp ( 96830 ) <sjcNO@SPAMcarpanet.net> on Wednesday June 11, 2014 @03:55PM (#47216067) Homepage

      If it was strictly an opinion piece or even a simple review, I might agree. If this was aimed at a comparison between products, absolutely. However, looking over this there is quite a bit of content, with code. Its basically a tutorial on setting up the device.

      Why does someone who is basically a tutorial author need to disclose his relationship to the company?

      Disclosures are to call out the appearance of conflict of interest. I see no clonflict here, in fact, whether the author was paid outright to write the piece or not seems irrelevant for the type of content. I mean lets go one step further and assume its not his wife but him, lets make him an officer of the company even. Where is the conflict in him givning examples of how to use his product on a technical level? If Jeff Bezos wrote an article on how to setup your amazon merchant account, nobody would bat an eyelash.

      In short, disclaimers are for professionals who need to maintain a reputation for impartiality, not for people doing demos.

    • Cut the author some slack. The guy pointed out his connection to Keen IO & Electric Imp early in the writeup; that is disclaimer enough for me. It was a fun and interesting read and I appreciate the time he put into the writeup.

      r.e. self serving: sure, but it also serves others (like myself) by being educational. I hope Keen IO makes a ton of money and goes on to create more cool things.

      ...but you really needed a bold "disclaimer" in both the summary and article for me to think this is anything but a self-serving post to advertise something that will profit your wife and, by obvious extension, you.

  • by BitZtream ( 692029 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2014 @03:39PM (#47215853)

    you ignore the massive libraries it uses.

    I can write anything you want in a single line of code, given enough time to make a library that encapsulates all the required functionality into single function call.

    Its not impressive, it just shows how you think you're impressive for using so much of someone else's hard work and acting like you did it.

    • My thoughts too.
      The lines of code comparison is only apt if you are comparing programs that do the same for the same language.

      My Python Web Server is coded in 3 lines of code... But that is because Python has a Web Server library built in. If I were to do it in C with only the standard libraries. it would probably be a few hundred lines. If I needed to do the standard libraries too, then I probably need at least a few hundred lines of assembly. Of course the assembly is often contains macros of commonly

    • Ok, so one of you is accusing me of flacking for my wife's company to make a quick buck, while the other accuses me of taking credit for her company's work. Tough crowd!
      • by Trogre ( 513942 )

        It sometimes helps to picture the Slashdot community as a room full of Comic Book Guys. It's probably not far from reality.

        FWIW, I think this is a pretty cool project.

      • The two are not mutually exclusive, especially in such a bunk piece of slashvertising.

        Best part is, last time I checked, the electric imp did everything programming wise via 'the cloud' ... which is exactly what you claim to not be using.

        Did you not program it with a cloud based IDE?

        Oh for fucks sake, you even used cloud backends for everything after saying you didn't need all that infrastructure.

        You don't even know how it works, do you?

        • I said nothing about NOT using the cloud. It's all **about** using the cloud as much as possible to simplify the devices and to avoid unnecessarily building the same kind of backend for every project, over and over again. And to whoever said that people aren't still building custom backends, I offer examples: nest, fitbit, jawbone up, nike fuelband, automatic, WeMo, hue (light bulbs), whistle, Streetline (parking sensors), Sensys, (traffic sensors), various divisions of GE, Basis, etc. Advertising and dat
  • I mentally shut this out when I realized debounce() and tilted() were sharing a global variable called "ignore". Yeah, let's see what happens when feature creep sends this beyond 70 lines.

    • This is embedded software-- I'm passing data to an interrupt routine. This is a common design pattern, not the usual wonton misuse of globals. Can't pass parameters to an interrupt routine. In C, I might have encapsulated the global with a getter/setter, but the only benefits to that here would be to hide data via file scoping (which imp doesn't have), and to validate the value of a Boolean for.... what? I could have used a semaphore, but imp code is not interruptible, so that wouldn't do much either. I a
      • OK then, it's the environment that's stupid. Hardware and memory are cheap. Get something just a bit more expensive that permits better design. You'll be happy in the long run.

        • OK, scratch that. Interrupt service routine... it's been a long time since I've done that kind of thing; but I seem to recall that even full-blown PCs have that kind of issue. It looked like some kind of scripting language to me. There are so many lame scripting environments out there, I just kind of assumed. So. I apologize.

          I was skimming the text and code of course and not doing a lot of deep thinking about it. You can't do deep thinking with stuff like this you read online. You have to triage. Gi

  • This is actually a nice little project. It is what many projects out there should be if they want to be useful to normal people. It has a fairly simple hardware component and a fairly simple software component and a fairly decent reason for being created. My kids could take this as a starting point and within a few days have something physical that they have created and be able to modify it from there to do something useful or educational or both. These are the sorts of projects that should be done in s

  • Electric Imp would be interesting if open source. Alas, it's not. It's proprietary and everything is in "the cloud," so if the company dies so do all the projects and products that work with it as you lose access to the Imps that are deployed.

    What I find amazing is that product's like Lockitron are totally dependent on this may not be there tomorrow proprietary cloud platform.

Executive ability is deciding quickly and getting somebody else to do the work. -- John G. Pollard