If you're sick of slouching at your desk or at home, correcting yourself can be near impossible. However, there are a host of smart wearables that can help you correct your posture and improve your health.
Slouching and sitting has been described as the "smoking of our generation" and the host of associated negative health effects are longer than a week's all inclusive holiday in Chernobyl.
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Check out this list of smart connected wearables designed to nag your body into a healthy shape.
The Lumo Lift is comprised of a small, plastic oblong sensor designed to be worn just below the collarbone and as close to the body as possible (it might not work so well on loose clothing). The device is magnetic, so once in position – say, behind a tight-fitting T-shirt – it can be held there using the external magnetic clasp. Setting up involves standing up straight with shoulders back and double tapping the sensor to confirm.
Wareable verdict: Lumo Lift review
The Lift will buzz a gentle reminder whenever the wearer slumps back into a slouch. Of course, any body sensor can be programmed to monitor a number of functions, so this also measures steps taken and calories burned. Naturally, there's an iOS app for it too, but it's not really required unless you wish to know your progress in 'posture hours'.
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.
Read this: Alex posture tracker first look
The Alex companion coaching app 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.
The whole point of wearable tech is not to notice you're wearing it, right? That doesn't appear to be the case with this lumbar-based slouch tracker. Instead of a small button-style sensor, the UpRight is comprised of a four-inch long device that sticks vertically to the lower back.
It's anything but discreet if worn with, say, a bikini – in fact, it looks like you could replicate the system to some degree by simply sticking a lollipop to your back – but in many respects a method like this could be arguably more reliable than the majority of other posture sensors. The UpRight is fitted with two sensors that help correct posture by vibrating at the first sign of a slouch, and can also be used with or without the accompanying Android and iOS app.
If you're already wearing a bunch of sensors to monitor your activity, sleep and diet, how about going the full hog and adding posture and breathing to the mix? The Prana is a circular one-inch disc that clips to the waist and predominantly measures breathing activity. Yes, this page is devoted to posture sensors but given that good posture facilitates good breathing, it therefore makes perfect sense to develop a wearable device that encompasses both.
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Shallow breathing using the chest muscles (hypopnea) has been proven to lead to all sorts of medical conditions, and yet half of humanity regularly breathes this way. Diaphragmatic breathing is where it's at, so this sensor's iOS and Android app works by sending push alerts whenever it detects stressed breathing brought about by bad posture. As we spend all our time breathing, a monitor like this might just be the most useful wearable of the lot.
Darma provides a different approach to posture correction. Rather than a wearable brooch-style sensor, the Singapore-based startup's method instead monitors sitting behaviour using a sensor-equipped cushion. According to their scary stats, "Sedentary behaviour (measured by the time spent sitting) is linked to the risk of developing obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, metabolic syndrome or premature death." Mmm, that's reassuring.
Their answer (aside from not sitting so much) is to plonk your bum on the world's first app-enabled smart cushion. The Darma memory-foam cushion monitors posture, sitting habits and stress levels and ports the data it gathers to an Android or iOS device. Given that many offices workers sit at the same desk everyday, a system like this could be just the ticket for those who refuse to festoon themselves in wearable sensors.
The jury's out on whether a wrist-based sensor is reliable enough to properly monitor walking posture but Zikto's certainly giving it a go. According to the blurb, the Arki "measures your swing speed, rotation angle with respect to gravity, transferred vibration from the feet and more".
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Apparently, this undeniably attractive wrist device is clever enough to learn your walking habits and tell whether you're stooped over your phone or strolling along with your hands in pockets. And who are we to disagree? Like all posture sensors, it sends a gentle reminder to your wrist while sending collated data to a smartphone app for post-walk reference. The Arki ships in April.
These glasses measure your inner being and let you know if you're tired and whether you're standing up correctly. Three sensors near the bridge of the nose monitor tiny differences in one's eye movements while a further two six-axis acceleration sensors in the earpieces check for posture and general body state.
Apparently. Like all sensors, there's an app for it too. Jins Meme are available in a number of different frames though some do look a little too clunky for our liking. There's still no details on US or UK pricing, but we do know that if you're in Japan, the ES model will cost 39,000JPY (roughly $350) and 19,000JPY (around $170) for the MT model.
UpRight focused on your lower back with its first posture trainer, but it's back in the game to help fix your upper back and neck issues.
Like its older sibling, the UpRight Go has been designed to be a discreet solution to your niggles. And once you've managed to get someone to actually fix it onto your back, the device is able to track and train your posture by providing feedback on how to prevent aches and muscular pain.
This is also based on information you enter into the companion app, such as how many hours in the day you find yourself sitting around and how regularly you suffer from discomfort, with daily goals and advice also provided.
The device is currently tearing apart the crowdfunding scene, meaning you can pick up a Go for as little as $69 before its expected shipping date this July.
Vitali Everyday Smart Bra
Vitali's approach to posture is a little different from the others on the list. Rather than tell you how bad your posture is, the Vitali Everyday Smart Bra uses your posture to determine how stressed you are.
The Smart Bra pools together your posture data with breathing rate and heart rate variability to determine how stressed you are. The companion app will tell you, for instance, that your posture slips around 3pm, indicating that your stress is really picking up. You're then aware of that time period as a point of stress and can make adjustments.
The bra is also built with ultimate comfort for women in mind, using the basics of a sports bra to build a comfortable wearable that not only works when running, but at a casual day at the office or on a day out.
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