Your fitness tracker could soon control your home’s lights, heat, and music

A universal remote that you’ll actually want to wear.
A universal remote that you’ll actually want to wear.
Image: Reuters/Dado Ruvic
We may earn a commission from links on this page.

To date, fitness trackers such as the Fitbit and Jawbone have been little more than souped-up pedometers, with a growing list of body-monitoring functions, measuring posture, heart rate, and so on. But the fitness tracker of the future could be far more highly functioning: a data-driven, super-smart remote control to every device in your smart home.

MIT Technology Review reports that Jawbone CEO Hosain Rahman has longterm plans for connecting your fitness tracker to the Internet of Things. The Jawbone Up24 can already be connected to your smart lightbulbs, so that it turns on lights when it senses that you’ve woken up.

Eventually, Rahman said, a band could read your temperature (a capability that the Jawbone Up24 doesn’t currently have, though competitor Basis does), and determine whether your hot skin is the result of a recent workout or a heatwave. (A workout would warrant a quick blast of cool air from the A/C in the room you’re in, but if weather is to blame, the ambient temperature in your house could be brought down.)

The possibilities are vast: Your heart rate could control your smart music player so that songs match your mood, and location tracking could unlock doors and electronic devices without keys or passwords.

Will this save fitness bands from the oncoming wave of in-ear health and fitness monitors? Not likely. All of these data-driven controls would function just as well, if not better, in the smart “hearables” we’ve described before. But wrist-worn bands could potentially take advantage of their motion-detection software to enable gesture-based controls. And if wearing your personal computer on your wrist instead of your ear allows you to answer phone calls with a precise flick, it might be worth the arm space.