Kids who slouched in old movies were roused by a harsh snap of a ruler or a book smacked on the desk’s edge. Most of us have never witnessed such a scene, but we’ve all heard our parents tell us to sit up straight and warn us that slouching would turn us into slovenly hunchbacks with limited employment possibilities other than ringing church bells.
While good posture makes us all appear better, it also provides health benefits for the body. It prevents strained muscles and can help you avoid discomfort, stress, and potential health issues. But, because most of us can’t see ourselves slouching, how can we improve our posture without getting book-slapped?
There is a slew of gadgets, belts, and straps that claim to help you stand up straighter, but since we’re all about technology here at Digital Trends, we’ll focus on the smarter, more connected choices and answer the big question: Do smart posture-correcting devices work?
What is a smart posture-correcting device, and how does it work?
In summary, a smart posture-correcting gadget is worn on the body and uses a tiny sensor to monitor your posture and inform you if you lean or slump. They’re typically customizable and may be set to your personal baseline, so if you already have a basic lean, you won’t be penalized. Upright, which manufactures Upright Go and Upright Go S, is the most well-known company in this field. Through technology, these little, thumb-sized pods promise better posture.
To further gamify the experience, Upright gives you a score and tracks your progress daily to see how your posture is improving.
What is the operation of a smart posture-correcting device?
Upright Go and other smart posture-correcting gadgets use small movement sensors and are worn on the back, either directly on the skin with a mild removable adhesive or on a lanyard that hangs down your back. Upright is, for the most part, unobtrusive. Don’t worry if you don’t want to draw attention to yourself; the gadget is hidden beneath your clothing.
A companion app is used to calibrate upright. You may program the gadget to notify you when you lean too far forward, hunch, or slouch by using the sensors in the device to define a baseline for you and your specific posture. The notifications are in the form of light on-device vibrations that serve as a gentle reminder to sit up straight — no more, no less.
So, how effective is a clever posture-correcting device?
I got the opportunity to check out one of Upright’s devices. I was hesitant at first, particularly since I felt my posture was already excellent. But, after spending one too many days at the office with a tight neck and a hurting back, I felt a little coaching was in order.
Surprisingly, the Upright app revealed that I was slouching a lot more than I thought I was during my initial days using an Upright device. I got so many vibrations and warnings that I had to take the gadget off for a break since I was being lazy and hunching!
The next days were much better. I changed my “slouch zone” so that I didn’t have to be flawless in my posture all of the time. You may set the gadget to be harsh or lenient with you, and you can increase the severity as your skills grow.
I spent the following few days performing my best Audrey Hepburn imitation and improving my results, determined to beat my awful “high score.” Another thing I observed was that other muscles in my back were becoming sore, but they were the muscles I should be utilizing in the first place, so I knew something was improving.
I had made noticeable progress after only a few days, and I had the evidence in the form of my Upright ratings on the app. But the biggest change was becoming more conscious of how I sit on a daily basis and the ergonomics of my workstation. So, how effective was a smart posture trainer for me? It certainly did.
I decided to make some modifications and purchased a rocking footrest, a fantastic monitor arm to raise my screen, and a cushion to soften the harsh chair I had been sitting in. I’m also a great proponent of a wireless vertical mouse, which has completely cured my carpal tunnel symptoms after the first day of use.
The reality is that I no longer wear my Upright Go S every day. I don’t have to since I believe it has taught me how to stand in the best possible posture at my desk. In a few months, I’ll put it on again to check in on my posture and ensure that the beneficial habits I’ve acquired continue with me.