Disclaimer: if this idea hasn't already been posted here
be surprised, but I couldn't find it.
Fitness trackers that log physical activity are everywhere
these days, from wristbands to smartphone apps.
they're used legitimately - for keeping track of calories
burned - or for
the purposes of vanity - allowing us to
boast about our walks and runs on social media - pretty
much everyone who has noticed their expanding
invests in some sort of tracker to start their journey
towards good health.
Naturally, though, most such forays into regular exercise
are short lived. Walking and running are difficult, and
Macs are easy and delicious. Most trackers end up sitting
in a drawer after a short while, joining the pile of ten
old cellphones and spent batteries that already live
My fitness tracker would incentivise exercise by adding a
financial element. On activation that user would register
an account on the website of the tracker, enter his
card details, agree to a dollar value for each mile
walked/calorie burned, and set a daily or weekly goal
must be met.
If the user met his mileage/calorie target by the end of
the week his account would not be charged. If he
his target he'd receive a credit for the surplus, and if he
failed to hit the target he'd be debited for the amount he
1. The user cannot have complete control in choosing his
own target, to avoid a situation in which he aimed to
just 1 mile a week and received credit for what amounts
not much exercise. The user's target would be computed
based on weight, height, age, gender or some other fair
combination of personal factors. The target must be
physically challenging, but achievable.
2. Only walking within a certain speed range (i.e. 3-
4.5mph) would be tracked, to avoid the user gaming the
system by driving or cycling the distance and claiming
credit. This could be tricky, but some combination of
tracking and pulse rate could be used to ensure (with a
reasonable degree of certainty) that the user is actually
doing the exercise.
3. To simplify matters, the tracker must be manually
activated at the start of each walk, and only walks over
certain distance are counted towards the weekly total (so
the user does not receive credit for walking to the
bathroom or moving up the line in McDonalds).
4. The dollar value of each mile would be weighted in
favour of the tracker rather than the user. For instance,
exceeding a target would result in a credit of $1 per
but falling short would incur a $5 per mile penalty.
5. The dollar value must be token, in an effort to make
too much effort to attempt to game the system for
6. The tracker must have some mechanism by which to
ensure that only one user operates it. A fingerprint
scanner would be ideal.