The Microsoft Band Could Get Way More Interesting With DIY Web Apps

Illustration for article titled The Microsoft Band Could Get Way More Interesting With DIY Web Apps

Soon, the Apple Watch will wirelessly monitor your glucose level. But you know what? The Microsoft Band can do that too. This is just one of many apps that will come to the formerly-unimpressive Band—thanks to a new ability to turn web data into live tiles for the wearable.

Advertisement
Illustration for article titled The Microsoft Band Could Get Way More Interesting With DIY Web Apps

See the picture above? That’s the real-time feed from a Dexcom glucose meter beaming its data to the web. Specifically, you’re looking at the blood sugar levels of Microsoft program manager Scott Hanselman, a Type-1 diabetic who’s well-known for trying to hack his condition.

How did that data get to the band? Simple: a new version of the Microsoft Band SDK can ping a server on the web, and turn any JSON or XML response into a “Web Tile.” An app, basically. The glucose monitor connects to Scott’s phone over Bluetooth, pushes the data up to an Azure server, and this Web Tile pulls the data down again in real time to his wrist.

But it’s not limited to glucose data: that could theoretically be any real-time data from any web server or website that packages it in the right way. Microsoft programmers tell me tells me you could create a Web Tile for any such source of data, send them in an email or even a Tweet. Then, anybody with the Microsoft Band app can download it, and boom—a new tile on their Band with a brand-new feature.

Illustration for article titled The Microsoft Band Could Get Way More Interesting With DIY Web Apps
Advertisement

Is it enough to make the Band a contender in the smartwatch space? Maybe not—particularly if Microsoft’s relying on savvy users and developers to do the heavy lifting. But Microsoft says it’s reaching out to companies to build some examples, and it’s pretty cool that Band owners might soon be able to roll their own apps for the wearable.

You should be able to build your own Web Tiles this summer, according to a rep.

Advertisement

DISCUSSION

The great thing about the Microsoft Band is how many sensors it has. It has more sensor than any other device out there, including the Apple Watch. So the potential is there to do so much. A lot of the sensors are just waiting for someone to write for it. Like Microsoft itself hasn’t even written software for the galvanic skin response sensor yet.

These other fitness bands and watches will always be limited in potential by their limited number of sensors. A person can grow with the Microsoft Band.

I love mine.