The history of tracking someone’s walking distance and the number of steps go way back to the 15th century when Leonardo da Vinci sought to measure and track the distance a Roman soldier walked. However, the history of pedometers really took off back in 1770 through Abraham-Louis Perrelet’s invention. Some stated that Thomas Jefferson was the first to produce a mechanical pedometer in 1770. Today, we see how pedometer technology progressed through technological developments that can also be seen on fitness trackers such as Fitbit Cork as they evolved as time passed by.
In 1921, the polygraph or lie detector rose to popularity due to it being the first machine to have sensors that can measure galvanic skin response (GSR), pulse rate, and blood pressure. The police used this device to detect signs and physiological indicators of lying. However, this technology is currently used by multiple activity trackers such as fitness tracker Cork.
The first modern pedometer was introduced in 1965 when Dr. Yoshiro Hatano invented the Manpo-kei. With its literal translation as “10,000 steps,” the Manpo-kei was developed to help address the health problem of obesity in Japan. This device is a simple gadget that can be worn around the waist to calculate the number of steps of an individual. Dr. Hatano was driven by the idea that 10,00 steps combined with a proper calorie intake and exercise balance are enough to maintain a healthy body and ensure wellness. The Manpo-kei became more popular as many people also sought to track the number of steps they take.
In 1971, Ford used accelerometers for its commercial products and automobiles. It was utilized to calculate a moving object’s position, orientation, and velocity without external references. Today, modern activity trackers also utilize accelerometers for step counting and fitness tracker Waterford.
Meanwhile, in 1982, the Polar PE2000 rose to popularity as it was a device that combines an electrocardiogram (ECG) and a radio chest strap. It was considered the forefather of all activity trackers. It paved the way for displaying biometric information of athletes through its successor, the Sports Tester PE3000, released in 1984. Additionally, in 1996, the Global Positioning System (GPS) became available for civilian usage, and today, fitness trackers utilize this technology to map out a person’s exercise routine.
In 2006, motion-sensing was popularized as the Nokia 5500 Sport became the first consumer device to have a built-in accelerometer. The built-in accelerator in Nokia 5500 Sports can record movement from front to back, up and down, and side-to-side. It also allows people to help record their movement and calories burned, distance, and the number of steps they have taken.
A year later, in 2007, Fitbit was built as a hardware start-up. It then saw a transformation into a tech powerhouse in over ten years. Fitbit initially started as an idea using sensors in small wearable devices, to which James Park and Eric Friedman saw the potential of turning this into a business. Park and Friedman presented this idea on Fitbit at the TechCrunch 50 conference on September 9, 2008, which received 2,000 in one day. However, there are struggles with the device’s manufacturing as they lack experience in the field of business and can also see issues with the technicality and design of the device.
Despite various setbacks and issues that arose, the first tracker by Fitbit was launched in 2009 and sold over 5,000 units to consumers while maintaining a good profit margin. Today, it continues to be a popular fitness tracker among many people looking to track the steps and distance they can walk in a day.
If you are looking for more information about the history of activity trackers, here is an infographic provided by Irwins Megastore.