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I'm looking for a fitness device for a Christmas gift, and while I think the devices that collect a lot of data are really cool, I'm concerned about that data being stored in an online account. I have little faith in privacy and security protection I have so little control over, and I can't seem to find a device that doesn't require signing up for a "free account" to actually track the data collected.

Are there any applications out there for Windows or Linux that can synchronize with a wearable device and store the data locally either by syncing directly with the computer or with a self hosted server? It may be that none of the devices are able to store data without a Bluetooth connection to another device, so an Android app that doesn't upload the data from the phone would be an acceptable solution also.

I'd like the device to be at a minimum a pedometer and heart rate monitor. It would be a big bonus if it tracked sleep patterns. I could create my own software to manually track the data, so what is important to me is downloading the data that was collected in real time from the device with either a wireless or USB connection to a local hard drive in a format that I can manipulate it.

Just an update - I finally caved and bought a Fitbit. Their privacy policy is very good, so I'm now less of a Luddite. I would still be interested if something comes on to the market that doesn't require cloud storage, so I'm going to leave this around for a little while longer.

  • Running while carrying your Windows/Linux computer along is really something you could call Fitness :) No idea about those. If an Android solution would be acceptable, there's always the search mask at my site or Galen's StripSearch App helping you to find a corresponding app not requiring "unwanted permissions" (as e.g. access to the network). – Izzy Nov 10 '14 at 17:16
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    You could always look for an app for your phone that logs your GPS in a plain text format and allows it to be retrieved. Most runners take there phone with them and many android phones have a reasonable resolution GPS. (I don't much like the stories about iPhones uploading positional data to Apple, etc., either). – Steve Barnes Nov 10 '14 at 17:55
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    I don't care about logging the GPS data - I'm interested in steps, heart rate and such. We're just getting more serious about fitness and I'm a data junkie and like to measure progress :) I'm guessing there is no device that has enough memory to hold data without syncing in real time and that I will have to resort to a phone app? – ColleenV Nov 10 '14 at 18:21
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I have found a Striiv smart pedometer that can sync up with a computer instead of smartphone, so it doesn't have access to more sensitive information like GPS location, my contacts, etc. If it had a heart rate monitor, even if it wasn't continuously sampling, it would be very close to what I'm looking for.

It looks like Striiv doesn’t make that particular pedometer any longer, and they require that you install a smartphone app to activate your device now, so I wouldn’t choose it over a FitBit device (which is what I am currently using)

I was hoping that someone had reverse engineered how some device sends its data so that they could write their own custom software, and it looks like no such thing exists. I think my best bet is to limit the sensitive data that is collected and just accept that only luddites keep their data out of the cloud these days :)

  • This is what I settled on, but I'm not going to mark it as an answer because it really isn't what I wanted. The tracking of your activity can be done on the device without syncing to the online account, but there's no local application that you can use offline. It's a neat gadget and I'm enjoying it though. – ColleenV Jan 9 '15 at 15:15
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I think your best bet is to look into something like Fitbit. It's a wearable device that seems to have the features you want including syncing and usage of an android/apple app. I've never used one, but, it looks worth investigating. Additionally, I've seen this question asked on the Fitness forum.

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    I have looked at Fitbit because they are the only manufacturer I know of that have put an OK privacy policy in place, but it still requires an account. – ColleenV Nov 10 '14 at 18:17
  • I searched through the fitness forum, and didn't have much luck finding the related question. There were many questions asking for tracking software (some closed) but I couldn't find anything specifically related to doing it offline. Can you help me find the question you're referring to? – ColleenV Nov 10 '14 at 18:27
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Set up a free account with Fitbit, sniff the packets with wireshark using coffeehouse wifi via dongle, get adequate sampling, spoof the server using a bash script, dump to CSV. Sell Fitbit and dongle when script runs, buy new Fitbit.

You've cracked the protocol, they have only sanitized data. /ParanoidMode

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    This does not seem to be the sort of recommendations that are useful for average users. – Thomas Weller Aug 26 '16 at 11:45
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    I could reverse engineer the data stream myself, but I don't really want to spend the time. I was hoping there was an open API to some device; the fact that there isn't makes me even more suspicious about the manufacturers wanting to funnel me to their applications/sites :) – ColleenV Aug 26 '16 at 13:18

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