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Public Sector /

United Kingdom

UK University assess the effects of Lockdown with Fitbit

A highly unique project where we developed a website for the University of the West of Scotland that connected to FitBit’s servers in California and collected intraday data for research into the effects of Lockdown due to Covid-19.
01 All Devices Lockdown 4

The Challenge

One of the more interesting discovery meetings we had during the lockdown and a great opportunity to help university researchers understand the effects that the Covid-19 pandemic was having on the physical and mental wellbeing of the public.

The project was initiated by a very highly regarded university Professor, Nick Sculthorpe, who explained to us that the project aimed to explore the physical activity levels of adults before and after lockdown using data from wearable activity trackers (e.g. Fitbit). This project was collectively funded by the University of the West of Scotland, Chief Scientist Office and NHS Scotland.

The challenge was to gather the relevant information to support the FitBit data, then have the user grant access to their Fitbit data anonymously. Once the data was collected, it had to be converted into JSON (an open standard file format and data interchange format) which was then sent to a secure server on the University Campus. The data also had to be stored in a user-accessible format and recorded in real-time for researchers to review and assess.

Needless to say, this was a challenging project and there were no examples of this working in practice on the internet after we carried out extensive research into a solution. But we were very much committed to delivering this project for the client.

Our Solution

First, we developed a clean website design, taking into consideration the UWS brand and the design system used on the main UWS website. Once that was completed, we build an advanced multi-step form using PAFE Piotnet which comprised of over 80 collection fields and used extensive conditional logic and repeater fields.

Next, we had the task of the FitBit access. To do this, we accessed the Fitbit developer SDK website and registered a new application to take advantage of their OAuth 2.0 Protocol which allowed us direct access to the user’s Fitbit data held on Fitbits servers in California by generating a unique authorisation grant flow which was embedded via a URL callback which contained various query parameters and authorisation to access the required intraday data.

Lost yet? We are only getting started! All of this functionality had to take place within one mouse click. Needless to say this aspect of the project required custom code written in PHP and advanced WordPress automation.

As you can see, the result looks so simple, the end-user simply follows a few basic instructions and presses the Fitbit logo button to connect and within a 2-3 seconds everything is completed:

This was one of the most enjoyable projects Tecology has completed to date and something we are very proud to have achieved. If you are interested in a similar build or have an idea you believe we could help with we would love to hear from you.

What was included

Custom Website Development
Advanced API design - FitBit
Advanced Multi-step Form Design
Data capture and storage automation
Google Sheets API Integration

Technology Used

Shape@2xCreated with Sketch.
WordPress CMS
Shape@2xCreated with Sketch.
Elementor Pro
Shape@2xCreated with Sketch.
PAFE Piotnet
Shape@2xCreated with Sketch.
Custom Tecology Admin Dashboard