We have seen posture trackers that attach to our backs and waists, but if we were to look to any part of our body to keep tabs on our sitting habits, it would be our backsides that know best, right? The team behind Darma is banking on our buttocks painting a clearer picture, developing a smart cushion that monitors how we sit to provide feedback on posture, stress levels, heart rate and respiration.
The adverse effects of prolonged sitting are well-established, with studies having linked it to health concerns, such as obesity, high blood pressure and increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease. This has led to a rise in solutions, such as sitting on exercise balls and using standing desks, though research has suggested that standing for too long can also be dangerous to our health.
UPGRADE TO NEW ATLAS PLUS
More than 1,200 New Atlas Plus subscribers directly support our journalism, and get access to our premium ad-free site and email newsletter. Join them for just US$19 a year.UPGRADE
With 1 mm thick fiber optic sensors embedded on top of the multi-layer memory foam padding, the Darma smart cushion is designed to improve posture, while encouraging a balance between sitting and standing. It detects when the user is slouching and provides real-time posture coaching through an iOS, Android or desktop app.
The cushion also monitors how long you've been sitting and will alert you when its time to stand up, while tracking vitals such as heart and breathing rate. The company claims that by keeping tabs on these signs, the cushion can determine a baseline for each user and detect when they become stressed, in which case it offers up breathing exercise to help calm them down. This personalization is taken one step further with Darma observing the user's sitting habits over time and suggesting tailored stretches to ease discomforts such as back and neck pain.
Darma is recharged through a Micro USB port and is said to last one month on each charge. It measures 40 x 40 x 3 cm (15.7 x 15.7 x 1.2 in) and is fitted with a Bluetooth LE module to connect with a mobile device or computer.
With a Kickstarter campaign currently underway, the company has stormed past its US$40,000 goal, having raised almost $85,000 at the time of writing. Pledges of $129 are still available, which will have a Darma shipped your way in June 2015 if everything else goes to plan.
You can check out the company's pitch video below.