Personal posture coach gently nudges to mollify neck pain
Sitting over laptops and/or mobile devices for long periods of time can leave one feeling like a stony gargoyle crouched at the top of a cathedral tower. Those looking for a way to improve posture and alleviate muscle stiffness can now opt for the latest wearable instead of extensive yoga classes – the Alex posture tracker is designed to rest against the back of one's neck, vibrating when the head leans too far forward for too long.
The prolific use of modern technology has led to an increase of forward head posture (FHP) or "reading neck." Many of us tend to unconsciously bend when looking at screens, which, over time, can lead to chronic muscle pain, pinched nerves or fatigue, to name a few.
Products like the Torax adjustable desk help by raising screens to a better viewing height. Others, such as Prana or the TruPosture shirt, use sensors to promote better spine alignment. The Alex posture tracker doesn't treat pain. Instead, it works as a coach by addressing the tilt of one's head, which is what leads the neck, shoulders, and spine. Designed to be worn over the ears at the base of the neck, Alex tracks position relative to the body. Look down too far, and you'll receive a reminder to sit up straighter.
A 3-axis sensor, located within the module that rests against the neck, is designed to accurately record angle and motion. Alex features Bluetooth 4.0 LE to pair with mobile devices running the companion coaching app (available for iOS and Android), which provides sensor calibration, progress charts/graphs, and a view of one's posture in real time. The app also allows uses to set length of time before receiving an alert, the angle to determine poor posture, and the strength of the vibration motor.
Flexible legs made of metal wire wrapped in soft silicone are adjustable for fit and comfort. The design is such that Alex can be worn without interfering with collared clothing or glasses. At a mere 25 g (0.9 oz), this lightweight wearable folds up for easy storage. The built-in battery is designed to last up to seven days (at 10 hours of use per day), requiring two hours to fully charge through a standard micro USB cable. Internal memory is capable of storing up to four weeks of posture data at a time, with lifetime data accessible through the app and cloud storage.
The Alex posture tracker is currently funding on Kickstarter, having raised 91 percent of its US$50,000 goal in 10 days, with another 20 days left to go. A pledge of $59 sets you up with one Alex, complete with USB cable and carrying pouch.
The company has successfully demonstrated prototypes and is poised for mass production. If everything goes according to schedule, backers can expect shipments to start sometime this May.
Check out the video below to see how Alex is intended to work.