A gadget to track every calorie you burn

Targeting the Wii generation, a new pedometer lets you compete online to track your fitness goals.

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(Fortune Small Business) -- After falling in love with the Nintendo Wii's physically demanding sports games, serial entrepreneur James Park, 32, started to ponder other ways to combine video games and fitness. The result: a $99 lipstick-size gadget that clips on to your clothes and uses a motion sensor to track everything from steps taken to sleep patterns and calories burned.

The Fitbit Tracker then uploads the information to a wireless base station, which relays it to a Web site for analysis.

Park reckons the Fitbit motivates people to get in shape by letting them track daily exercise - a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that using a pedometer increased exercise rates by 27% - and compare themselves with other users online.

"I lost 15 pounds just testing it," says Park. "I was horribly out of shape. That's what eight years of startups do to your body."

The next step will be tougher.

"Portable biofeedback electronics are going to be a hot item in an increasingly health-oriented population," says Billy Hulkower, a consumer analyst at market research firm Mintel. But, he says, "newbies not sponsored by recognized brand names face an uphill battle in marketing and distribution."

Founded in 2007 by Park and Eric Friedman, Fitbit raised $2.4 million in funding in October 2008. The gadget is set to go on sale this month.  To top of page

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