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Thank you for visiting our Fitbit Researcher Community! If you are interested in using Fitbit in a research study, here are some FAQs to help you get started.
What metrics do Fitbit devices track?
Fitbit offers a broad product lineup with devices that track a variety of metrics, including step count, floors climbed, distance, calories burned, active minutes, sleep time and stages, and heart rate. Please consult our product compare page for more information.
How do Fitbit devices sync data?
Fitbit devices use Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology to sync with mobile devices and certain computers. If the device is paired to the Fitbit app on a mobile device, it syncs every time you open the app. It can also sync periodically throughout the day if you have All-Day sync turned on. If you sync your tracker with a computer and Fitbit Connect, it syncs automatically every 15 to 30 minutes assuming the tracker and computer are in proximity, and the dongle is plugged in. More information is available here.
What is the battery life for Fitbit devices?
Battery life varies across the different models, and also varies based on use of the device and other factors. Several devices may last up to 5 days between charges, depending on usage and other factors. The Fitbit Zip battery should last up to 6 months before needing a replacement. More information is available here.
How much do devices cost?
Device costs vary by model; you can compare costs here. Researchers may be eligible for discounts up to 20% off the retail price of Fitbit products. In order to be considered for a discount, you will need to submit a Fitbit Research Application for review. Please find more information on this process below.
How do I order devices, and when will I receive them?
To order devices, please contact your Fitbit sales representative. If you do not yet have a sales rep, contact us here. If you are eligible for a discount, you can pay by credit card, check or wire.
If paying by credit card, devices usually ship within 24 hours of completion of your order. If paying by check or wire, it takes approximately 10 days to ship devices. It typically takes an additional 48 hours for us to approve tax exemption status.
Which device is recommended for research studies?
The right device for your study will depend on a number of factors, including the purpose of your study and the cost of the device. If you have questions about which device is most appropriate to address your research question and study aims, please consult our product compare page or contact our team to discuss in more detail.
How do I access and use the data generated by Fitbit devices?
Can I access raw accelerometer (or other sensor) data?
No, this data cannot be accessed. See above for more information on the data you can access and how you can do so.
Are Fitbit trackers suitable for studies that need to go through Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval?
Many studies using Fitbit devices have received IRB approval. IRBs and local ethics boards decide human research protections differently in different regions based on community and medical standards, so it is important to check with your local IRB and any other relevant bodies to share your intended use and proposal prior to beginning any study. It is often necessary to include a description of the Fitbit devices and their intended use in your study in your IRB submissions. An IRB may determine that Fitbit devices fall within a ‘low or minimal risk category’ depending on the scope of the study and their intended use in the research. As a best practice, a researcher should obtain approval or exemption/waiver for use of the Fitbit devices prior to beginning a study based on the advice of their applicable IRB.
How does Fitbit handle personal information?
Does Fitbit collaborate with external research teams?
If you are interested in exploring collaborations with Fitbit Research (e.g. data-sharing), please contact us here and note this in the comments section.
What customer support channels does Fitbit provide for study participants and coordinators?
If you have exhausted these resources and still have an unresolved issue, please get in touch with your Fitbit sales contact.
How do I submit a new product suggestion?
Please visit this page for Feature Suggestions.