Alex is a personal posture coach that wants to tackle neck and back problems

Posture tracker wants to give "text neck" the boot
Alex posture tracker to tackle “text neck”

If you pretty much live on a laptop or a phone (or both), then there's the good chance you do a fair bit of slouching or leaning forward to read the screen without realising it. That's not a good thing for your body and could lead to chronic back and neck problems in the future.

That's why the company behind Alex, a posture tracking wearable, believes it has a solution to stop your bad form now and in the long term.

Essential reading: Best wearables for improving posture

Weighing in at 25g, Alex looks a bit like a pair of neckband-style sports headphones, with the two squeezable and stretchable legs siting on the outside of the ear. Around the back where the sensor case lives, and gives Alex the smarts to accurately detect the position of the head and neck to identify bad posture. You should then feel a gentle vibrating alert to remind you to stop the slouching.

The Alex companion coaching app, which will be available for iOS and Android phones, will let you set time windows when you'd like posture to be good. You can also customise the frequency and intensity of alerts as well to give you a more purposeful nudge to sit up straight on more regular basis. You can store up to 4 weeks of posture data on the device with all of your posture progress stored in the cloud so you have a record of everything right from the start.

Battery life on the Alex should give you posture tracking for up to 7 days based on using it for 10 hours per day from a single charge. When the battery is done, it'll take 2 hours to get back up to 100% from flat.

Alex will be launching on Kickstarter next week, and it certainly won't be the first wearable that's tried to rid the world of bad posture. Lumo Lift, a small, elegant metal clasp you wear on your clothes is perhaps the most notable examples. We also recently covered Nadi and its posture-correcting smart clothing. If Alex manages to raise the cash, we'd be intrigued to give it a try.

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10 Comments

  • ConstanceC says:

    As an Alexander Technique teacher, I'm all for reminders to open into length and width from a collapsed or contracted state. Not sure I would call a buzz in my ear a "personal posture coach"! Especially since that's exactly what an AT teacher is, an actual person, who works with individuals, who are all different. We also use gentle hands-on guidance to help teach HOW to release into a balanced head/neck/spine neutral. We Never say "Sit up straight" as that just encourages an unsustainable holding. After a series of lessons, perhaps an "Alex" (coincidence?) would be a great reminder of releasing and opening. Especially if they change the buzz to a nicer sounding sound!

  • BAC says:

    Why set "time windows when you'd like [your] posture to be good"? Wouldn't you want to be comfortable in your body all the time? Why not take a series of Alexander Technique lessons instead? With a teacher's guidance, you can become your own coach by learning how to do ALL the activities in your life with less muscular tension and more ease. I've studied and taught the Technique for a number of years and have seen the benefits in myself and my students. Check here to find a teacher in your area: http://www.amsatonline.org/

    I'm also curious, given that "Alex" is so similar to "Alexander Technique": How did the developers get the name of this product?

  • MonikaGross says:

    May I recommend instead simply learning how to work with your existing postural reflexes? While this device is currently being designed, your reflexes have evolved over hundreds of thousands of years. If Wareable is intrigued by this device, you will be blown away by learning about the delicate internal wiring and feedback system already in place between your head, atlas and axis (top two vertebrae)! 

    An external device can never teach you HOW to restore balance and poise. That involves not just what is happening in your neck, but how that information helps you then integrate all the way through to your fingers and toes. This device will, sadly, be no better than your mother naggin' you: "Hey! Sit up straight!"  It will only lead to a pointless loop of pulling down, then pulling up, pulling down, then pulling up.

    A course of lessons in the sophistication of balance and poise embodied in Alexander technique principles will instead offer real change - and last for the rest of your life. (Batteries included) : )  

    Quite seriously, by the name "Alex", I am deeply suspicious that these entrepreneurs are trying to legitimize their product by falsely appearing to be related to Alexander technique!  

    www.formfitnessfunction.com

  • GlenBat says:

    This is just what the market wants us to believe! That we can relax and take no responsibility for our own actions. That we can give up our most precious gift - conscious choice in how we act and live. We can give this birthright over to a mechanical device that will do the job for us - thereby putting our senses and our brains on sleep mode until that little beep lets us wake up!  Wake up to what? If we had any idea of how to sit dynamically and be at ease in the first place, we wouldn't allow hours of unsupported sedentary behavior to take its toll on muscles and bones.  If we could be as deeply absorbed in honing our own antennae to ourselves in activity, as we are to whatever fixes our eyes to the  computer screen, then our evolution as a species might be less at risk. As human beings, we are exquisitely sensitive and dynamic. We thrive on change and difference in our every waking moment and our ability to tend to just how we are doing this is what distinguishes us from robots.   Sensory liveliness and conscious awareness to how we engage with the world is the much  needed 'human side' of ergonomics. I would advise that we look at the larger cost of not using what we have within us to avoid postural strain.

    Dr. Glenna Batson, Alexander Technique teacher 

    • MonikaGross says:

      "If we could be as deeply absorbed in honing our own antennae to ourselves in activity, as we are to whatever fixes our eyes to the computer screen..." Wonderful comment by Dr. Batson! I completely agree! Perceiving ourselves consciously as we are in action is what makes life as a human being unique!

  • Aino says:

    Try the real thing! It's called the Alexander Technique and it has been successfully used for over 100 years. Once you've got the hang of it, you can carry AlexTech with you everywhere. It will guide you in all actions, it makes you super-light and it's toatlly invisible :-)

  • AdrianFarrellAT says:

    As a teacher of the Alexander Technique I assume it's no coincidence that this device is called "Alex"!

    It could prove useful if the wearer is already taking Alexander Technique lessons as a reminder, my concern is that the problem has been reduced to a simply mechanical one. It's possible to be posturally aligned and still be wracked with tension and it's likely that this will device will encourage that by the encouraging wearer to "hold" their head in the "right" place rather than experiencing their head as simply being balanced and poised on top of the spine without effort.

    https://www.alexander-technique.london

  • MPortmann says:

    Any device which reminds you to correct your posture only makes sense if the wearer of the device knows what good posture actually is. Most people have a rather static concept of good posture, or worse - a misconception about posture - which means the gadget is a total waste of money and might actually lead to more discomfort. Posture is a dynamic concept and has nothing to do with where you put your head or your shoulders.

    If you really want to profit from this gadget, go and have some Alexander Technique lessons first to find out more about what good posture means and what it actually feels like to be well coordinated. After that, you might find that you no longer need any gadget - because we have our own natural and built in postural mechanisms. Once we have become aware of that, we do not need any reminders to tell us when we have lost the plot.

  • hgdn says:

    This device is useless in detecting excessive tension when the wearer is in the so-called "proper sitting position".

  • MPortmann says:

    Any device which reminds you to correct your posture only makes sense if the wearer of the device knows what good posture actually is. Most people have a rather static concept of good posture, or worse - a misconception about posture - which means the gadget is a total waste of money and might actually lead to more discomfort. Posture is a dynamic concept and has nothing to do with where you put your head or your shoulders.
    If you really want to profit from this gadget, go and have some Alexander Technique lessons first to find out more about what good posture means and what it actually feels like to be well coordinated. After that, you might find that you no longer need any gadget - because we have our own natural and built in postural mechanisms. Once we have become aware of that, we do not need any reminders to tell us when we have lost the plot.

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