How Apple is Shaping Its Activity-Tracking Algorithms with secretive gyms.
For several years now, Apple has operated a hush-hush fitness lab in an undisclosed location at its campus in Cupertino, California, and this week the company offered up a few details about how it’s studying all kinds of activities—on dry land and in water—in order to build algorithms for tracking them on the Apple Watch.
Jay Blahnik, Apple’s director of fitness for health technologies, said Tuesday that Apple believes the gym-like lab—which was built before the Apple Watch was released in 2015 and uses employee volunteers as guinea pigs—has now collected more biometric data than anyone else. It has also become the largest purchaser of metabolic carts, which are used to keep tabs on oxygen consumption; it now has 50 of these machines, he said, and half of them are portable so they can be used for activities like swimming and cycling. (And employees do use them, along with a security guard, for a daily bike ride, he added.)
The swimming happens in an indoor endless pool, and Blahnik said observations revealed that people don’t swim as well as they think they do. It turns out that even when people are pretty regular swimmers, it’s hard to measure a difference between, say, their crawl and breaststroke.
That’s not to say that everyone who comes into this data gym is going to partake in physical activity.
Short article, but interesting reading.