Knowledge Base/Strava Knowledge Base/Android mobile app

Android and external Biometric sensors

Mat Gordon
posted this on October 02, 2012 09:58 AM

What is a Biometric Sensor?

A Biometric Sensor is an external hardware device that connects to the Strava Android app to provide additional performance data for the Strava activity recording process. The Strava Android app currently supports heart rate monitors.  You can use heart rate data to measure your body's effort during an activity. Wear a heart rate strap around your  chest to collect data and send it via Bluetooth to the Strava app.  Strava analyzes heart rate data to show trends over time during an activity. For Premium members, Strava analyzes the total time spent within different heart rate ranges, and can calculate a Strava Suffer Score to measure how hard you work during each activity.


How can I connect Biometric Sensors to the Strava app on my device?

The Strava Android app supports the Bluetooth protocol for connecting Biometric Sensors.  Strava's Android apps do not currently support ANT+ or Bluetooth LE (Bluetooth Smart) sensors.


Where can I buy Biometric Sensors and/or adaptors that work with Strava?

Strava currently supports peripheral connectivity through the devices produced by Zephyr Technology.   Bluetooth-enabled devices can leverage Zephyr's Bluetooth peripherals.  

The Zephyr HxM works when paired with Android devices.  Please note we do not currently support the Zephyr HxM Smart using Bluetooth LE.


Do you support speed and/or cadence data gathered from power meters?

The Strava Android app does not gather speed or cadence data gathered from power meters at this time.


Do you use the speed data gathered from speed sensors?

The Strava Android app does not use speed data gathered from speed sensors. Please see article: How Distance Is Calculated for more details.


How can I ensure I have a strong connection between my Android device and my Biometric Sensors?

The best way to ensure a strong connection is to provide an unobstructed path between your Android device and the Biometric Sensors to which you are connecting.  Bluetooth devices transmit signals to devices at a frequency of 2.4GHz, which does not pass through water very well. Because the human body is mostly water, you may encounter data transmission issues if your body is obstructing the path. To work around this, consider 1) mounting your device where it will have an unobstructed path to your Biometric Sensors or 2) putting your device in a jersey side pocket (rather than center pocket).


Connection Issues

When the Strava Android app is connected to sensors but does not receive data for several minutes it will indicate so by showing the sensor icons on a red background. This error state will persist until you reconnect to new sensors for example by toggling individual sensors in the Biometric Sensors settings page, or when you start recording an activity. For tips on troubleshooting Biometric Sensor connections, see the previous topic.


Searching for sensors

The Strava Android app will search for new sensors any time the New Activity tab is selected, for up to 2 minutes. The app will first search for sensors it has already connected to (if there are any), then for any other sensors.

The app will also initiate sensor searches when you visit the Biometric Sensors setting page. If it is already connected to a particular type of sensor it will not connect to new sensors of that type. In order to force searching for a particular sensor type you can toggle that particular sensor off and on in the settings.

If you want to the Strava Android app to forget about particular sensors you can go to the Biometric Sensors setting page and press the Edit button then delete individual devices. This will not prevent the app from connecting to these devices however it will prevent the app from preferring those devices.

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