Wednesday, August 14, 2013

News You Can't Use: Device Nags You to Sit Up Straight

The dream of eliminating slouching by the year 3000 continues its slouch forward, now with the aid of amazing new technology! Yes, despite attempts to make chair low-riders into a protected class by promoting jelly spine acceptance the Powers That Be have not given up their moralistic crusade against that low 'n' lazy. We've now reached a point where there's an "app" for that.

"Sit up straight. Put your shoulders back. Don't slouch." Chances are good that you've heard nags like these from your mother more than a few times in your life.

Whoa, let's avoid this hetero-normative language. What if it was Father #2 doing the nagging or one of those cloth attachment dummies they use on experimental animals? I sincerely hope someone got fired over this.

It's a $150 sensor called LumoBack, from a company called Lumo BodyTech, that straps around your lower waist to track your posture and vibrates whenever you slouch.

Ladies, don't go getting any crazy ideas.

LumoBack uses Bluetooth to correspond with a free app that runs on Apple's iOS devices. (An Android version of the app is planned before the end of this year.) The company released a new version of its app on Tuesday, as well as a smaller version of its sensor band, both of which I've been testing.

The extremely technologically sophisticated society is indeed indistinguishable from magic.

After a week, I viewed LumoBack like eating broccoli: I know it's good for me, but I don't necessarily enjoy it. One upside is LumoBack is worn under clothing so you aren't announcing to the world you're tracking your movements by wearing something visible, like a sporty wristband.

If people found out you slouched your life would be basically ruined. "Sloucher: do not promote, give extreme audit" would be entered in your government paperien. This way no one need know about your secret solitary vice. Except the "LumoBack" people, but they're your friends, honest.

LumoBack's app with its armless stick figure that reflects your moves on an iOS device's screen is charming. The figure turns yellow and frowns when your posture is poor, and turns green and smiles when your posture is good.

When you have a wrong thought, like how our freedoms and privacy are vanishing, you get a angry red frowning face and a mild electric shock.

Let the LumoBack do its work, class.
But it's unrealistic to constantly look at a screen to check your posture so most of the times I felt these vibrating nags, I had to guess how to improve my posture.

This might be the first time a technology article has ever suggested that constantly looking at a tiny screen is "unrealistic." If this is the case, I seem to run into people out of touch with reality surprisingly often.

The first nagging buzz comes after you've been exhibiting bad posture for four seconds, then it buzzes again at 11 seconds. If you don't correct your posture after that, LumoBack assumes you don't want to be corrected again and stops buzzing.

Even Lumoback will eventually learn to give up on you, you loser.

In the next few months, Lumo BodyTech plans to release a coaching component for its app that aims to make the sensor more of a motivational gadget.

"All right, let's get exciting about posture! Hey now, you're starting to slouch, champ! Let's fix that spine! Yes! You're doing great! Now let's have no independent thought or imagination!"

For example, notifications will appear on your iPhone that say things like, "You've been sitting in that chair for 30 minutes. Stand up for yourself!"

Lumoback is not responsible for how badly your life will be ruined if you decide to take that order metaphorically instead of literally. 

I was concerned about wearing a Bluetooth device close to my body for so long. Lumo BodyTech's co-founder, Andrew Chang, said LumoBack transmits activity around 1% to 2% of the time during typical usage, and its radiation levels are about 25 times less than a Bluetooth headset.

And small amounts of radiation are probably good for you, toughen you up, that sort of thing.

The sensor's battery lasts five to seven days, depending on usage, and recharges via an included USB cord that plugs into a computer.

You can never have too much crazy stuff jammed into the USB ports. It's the automobile cigarette lighter for this amazing new world.

He had won the battle against himself. He loved sitting upright.

Komment Korner   

whoop WHOOP, gimmick alert!

Especially in our sitting society Posture Awareness is important

Big deal; the LumoMom nags you to make your bed, change your underwear, and wash behind your ears.

Often, the difference between a "kinda pretty" girl and a "knockout" is posture. Good posture implies self-confidence. Stand tall!

Aaron Zehner's posture is the stuff of legends. His first novel The Foolchild Invention is available in paperback and e-book format. Read free excerpts here and here. You will not need to strap it to your body or regularly recharge it, but I guess you could pretend.

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