Fitabase? QS as a client?

I want to purchase a self tracking device for myself that has activity, heart rate, & sleep from heart rate (would also love skin temperature and galvanic skin response but there are only a few that seem to have that, with their own limitations). I also do research using time series analysis on animal activity/movement data, so it is really important to me that I can export my data with the smallest time scale possible so that I can pilot some of the analyses I’m doing on human data. After a whole lot of searching I’m debating on a fitbit or garmin (currently contacting their health and research teams about accessing APIs to get time series data). The device that is closest to perfect in capabilities is the E4 by empatica (, but it is kinda bulky and is $1690 (eek!).

If I am unable to access a fitbit or garmin API for pilot study research, it seems Fitabase could be an option, thought I expect it to be pricey. Does anyone know the general cost? I noticed that their list of clients includes several of the University of Californias and Quantified Self. How exactly does fitbase work? Is it purchased by an individual researcher, a lab, a department, an institution, or any of these? Does QS have an account??

Don’t know about the pricing for Fitabase, but it’s geared towards helping collect data from multiple participants. You’re not going to get more detailed data from them than you get in a bulk export of your data from Fitbit directly (heart rate and steps etc at up to minute-resolution).

Garmin wants a $5,000 upfront payment for API access, and their data isn’t any more detailed than Fitbit’s.

Hello @Kelly_Finn!

I’m happy to tell you a little bit about Fitabase. We’ve been big fans of QS and have a lot of roots in the QS community, but we’re separate of course.

To date we’ve worked with over 500 research studies running all over the world. We support Fitbit and just recently announced a partnership with Garmin. We don’t support individual usage scenarios, but if you have a small observation group for your research we have very reasonable entry pricing points we can offer (our pricing varies on study size) and we can also set you up with a free trial if you’d like to see how that works. Shoot us an email at and take a look at our site for more info.

Lastly, a great resource we host is our Fitabase Research Library where we keep an eye out for any peer reviewed research using devices we support.


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Thanks! Is the export you are talking about the one using their API, or is there an option to export the more fine time scaled data directly from the device/app?

Fitbit responded very helpfully and pointed me towards their API which is either free to everyone and/or free for any research (not sure which), or fitabase if I wasn’t keen to fiddle with code.

Garmin was entirely unhelpful and only told me I wouldn’t qualify for their free Health API because “The Health API is for enterprise use and we require a higher number of users”. Their other customer service (main page, not the Health page) just told me it wasn’t possible to export anything other than daily summaries, and that I could only view charts of intraday summaries down to 2 or 3 minutes, but couldn’t export it.

Cool, thanks! I will keep this in mind. My work right now is largely sussing out methods/measurement based questions before applying anything to larger-scale studies. It seems like this sort of pilot work or preliminary data puts it in a grey area between a full-blown study and individual use, since at this point I’ll be using between 1 to 3 devices. Is this too small, or still potentially an option?

As of recently, you can download a single zip file with all* your data.

* including the “intraday” data, but excluding tracklogs and time zone mappings

Oh, time zone mapping, who could possibly need this? :slight_smile: