I originally thought the Fitbit looked awesome, but in digging into things, I found a few issues I didn’t like. (See Fitbit Improvements.) While it looks like they’ll never go the route of sending your own data to your own computer without first sending your data to the cloud, their official API is out (in beta) and should at least offer an improvement over the “unofficial” APIs people had been working on.
Over at dev.fitbit.com you can read up on the details, and get some example code (none in Perl yet though!) It’s good for the Fitbit ecosystem, as more applications may come out that make use of the data. If anything, I’d like to see something like what I created for Last.fm in Heard, an application that syncs your data back to your own server from the cloud.
I also noticed that Fitbit got a mention on the Arduino blog, which amuses me for a few reasons. First, if the Fitbit had been more open I probably would have looked more seriously into getting one last year. (Open source hardware would have been awesome, but I can live with closed, though it is interesting that they use the open source Arduino for rapid prototyping.) Second, I actually got into working with the Arduino partly to try to do some of the sleep monitoring functions that the Fitbit does. (Yes, that’s another project I got sidetracked on.)
Depending on how our research funds shake out this year, the Fitbit may still be on our list. As I’ve said before, I’m the type of person who needs to collect data, and analyze it, and chart it out, in order to find more value in it. Meanwhile, I’ll be in the lab working on my Arduino-based sleep monitor…