Fitbit launched a new experimental business division with the rollout of a software update to its Ionic smartwatch this week that will track users’ moods to gain behavioral insights.
The fitness tracking company has been expanding its research capabilities into health trends and habits since launching the Ionic this summer, as part of an effort to leverage the watch’s sensors and massive pool of end users and expand beyond simple calorie and step counting.
This week as part of that software update it announced Fitbit Labs, a research initiative led by the company’s research and development team that is focused on building experimental apps and clock faces that take advantage of smartwatch technology and help drive behavior change.
Among the first products launched through Labs will be Fitbit Mood Log, a clock face that will become available by the end of this year that will track how users feel throughout the day to observe their mood patterns over time.
Fitbit says the clock face will enable users to reflect on their mood, energy levels, daily physical activity, nutrition and sleep patterns to help them over time understand how their mood correlates with overall health habits.
This marks Fitbit’s first foray into mental health, enabling it to create a robust dataset of logged mood information that it can then couple with the databases it already has for sleep patterns, physical activity and heart rate.
The interactive Mood Log clock face on the Ionic prompts users with a buzz at set times throughout the day to evaluate their current mood and energy levels, something scientists call ecological momentary assessments, using a visual rating scale set forth by emojis.
“Researchers have shown that a wide variety of emotions are related to fluctuations in mood and energy; capturing these two dimensions is a convenient way to assess your emotional state,” Fitbit news editor Danielle Kosecki wrote in a blog entry.