There are all sorts of health wearables to make sure we're exercising right, but what about to make sure we're sitting right? The Prana focuses on breathing and posture to promote relaxation. It is said to be the first wearable designed to monitor and train diaphragmatic breathing – although the makers of the UpRight sensor might disagree.
"We breathe differently in slumped versus upright postures, with significant improvements in forced expiratory volume while upright," explains chief science officer at Prana, Dr. Paul Abramson. "The movement of the diaphragm is less restricted with good posture."
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
According to Prana, this improved posture and breathing has the potential to promote calmness, increase alertness, improve heart rate variability, lower blood pressure, interrupt acute anxiety episodes and help with chronic pain. The Prana tracker notifies users via an accompanying smartphone app for Android and iOS (to which it connects via Low Energy Bluetooth) when their breathing or posture can be improved, and trains them for long-lasting benefits.
The tracker itself is small, measuring 1.25 x 0.25 in (3.2 x 0.6 cm). It is worn near the waist, simply clipping onto the user's waistband or attaching to their clothing via a magnetic clasp. Once in place, it is able to recognize whether the user is sitting down or standing up.
In its sitting mode, the Prana analyzes the user's breath patterns, diaphragmatic breathing, and posture. Its notifications are aimed at improving the user's posture, thereby increasing lung capacity, and encouraging beneficial deeper breathing from the diaphragm rather than faster, shallower breathing. When users are upright, the Prana functions as a step tracker.
In addition to its tracking capabilities, the Prana app provides an active training mode that uses games to educate users about better breathing. It also provides breathing exercises and techniques. The Prana has a rechargeable battery that is said to last for up to up to seven days of use and has a wireless base for charging.
An Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign is underway for the Prana. At the time of writing, individuals who pledge from US$99 can receive one of the devices, assuming all goes to plan with the campaign and roll-out. Shipping is expected from June.
The video below provides an introduction to the Prana.