When you think of smartphone accessories, images of Otterboxes, camera lenses, and health monitors may dance through your head. Smartphones can also, however, be used to change habits. Startup Lumo BodyTech hopes to do just that, with the Lumoback posture-correcting gizmo.
The accessory doesn't massage, perform electrotherapy, or inject morphine into your sore back. It doesn't really do anything at all, apart from reminding you to sit up straight. This, however, is the biggest key to avoiding or reducing lower back pain.
You wear the Lumoback accessory on your waist. If you slouch, it vibrates. It also connects via Bluetooth to a mobile app (featuring "a friendly avatar named Lumo") to track your long-term progress.
Slouching is one of the biggest cause of lower back pain, and it can kickstart a chain reaction that leads to upper back and neck slouching. Lumoback acts as a private coach, giving you gentle nudges to nip that poor posture in the bud.
Breakthrough or novelty?
If the simple idea sounds appealing, you aren't alone. The team just raised $5 million for further development of Lumoback. This follows a successful Kickstarter campaign, where the entrepreneurs took in over US$200,000. Back pain is serious business.
The Lumoback accessory isn't cheap, at $149. There are also many other devices that perform similar functionality. But if you don't want to bother monitoring your own posture – and like the idea of a stick-figure coach living in your iPhone – you may find the Lumoback to be worth the investment.