What it is
The iPosture monitor comes in a blister pack (apparently the company didn't get that memo about frustration-free packaging), along with two spare 3-volt Lithium batteries, a Quickstart Guide, two sheets of double-sided adhesive stickers, a red velveteen carrying case, and of course, a copy of Young, Sexy and Healthy. The device itself is about a 1-inch diameter of white plastic with a pressure sensitive front, it comes loaded with a battery, and is outfitted with a wire clip for fastening.
The iPosture can be worn three ways: clipped onto the clothing or a necklace via the aforementioned wire clip, or adhered directly to the body using the included stickers. We tried all three methods, and have to say that ladies (and men who wear bras) have an advantage here, because the iPosture feels most comfortable and secure clipped to a strap. The adhesive stickers do seem to work fine, but we spent a good bit of time trying to figure out where it would be most comfortable, and then a bit more worrying about it falling off. If you work anywhere outside the home, you definitely don't want the device falling into your clothing suddenly mid-day. We were the least fond of the necklace method of donning the iPosture -- it was both uncomfortable and not to our liking aesthetically (it looks ridiculous). Regardless, all three methods actually seem to allow the device to function about the same.
What it does
The iPosture literature repeats (many, many times) that it's "quick and easy" to use, and truth be told, it is. Once you're wearing it, you stand (or sit) up straight, shoulders back, i.e., with "proper posture," then tap the iPosture lightly, just once. If you've done it correctly, the device will vibrate for about two seconds. If you've improperly set it -- either by pressing it twice or holding it down too long -- the monitor will vibrate twice. In the latter case, you just start over. If you've somehow managed tap the button properly (we're awesome and got it on the first try!), then that's it -- the device is now supposedly monitoring your posture, and you should be able to proceed with your previously scheduled day.
Of course, the first thing we did was start flailing around wildly, leaning backwards and forwards, hunching over dramatically -- all to test out the little beast. When it didn't vibrate instantly, we thought 'well, this is a piece of garbage,' then read the literature to discover that, unsurprisingly (not to mention quite sensibly), the iPosture is programmed to ignore most jerky, temporary movements, and that only when you've held a "bad" posture for about a minute will it vibrate. And does it ever do just that! We must note here that it turns out that our posture was pretty much as bad as it gets (we're talking Hunchback of Notre Dame
territory, folks) but we're going to blame the job, and the fact that we often sit at our desk (okay, table) for hours without moving.
When we first wore the iPosture, we were both shocked and embarrassed to find how often it vibrated. The vibration is quick and pretty much silent, but we found it to have an instant effect on our behavior. If you've gone so far as to have bought and donned the device, it seems reasonable to assume you won't ignore its nagging, even if you could... which you can't. It's pretty annoying, and, as we already said, shocking.
When it vibrated we found ourselves bolting up in our chair to right our posture -- just as desired! At first, that reaction was quite temporary, and we were slouching like losers again in no time. But wearing the device essentially creates a little game out of sitting, and soon enough, in the back of your mind, you're thinking about how long you can go without the darned thing vibrating. Day one was exhausting, and we found that by and large, our posture was only terrible while sitting at a computer working. When sitting on the couch reading, or cooking dinner, it vibrated far less, and for long periods not at all. Any prolonged silence of the device led us to wonder if the battery was dead (it never was), which is probably a totally minor concern. Also, it's worth mentioning that by the end of the first day, our back and shoulders actually hurt, but cleared up by the next day. The second and third day of wear the iPosture vibrated much, much less, and we certainly began to notice our overall posture was much straighter, and that, kind of surprisingly, it was more comfortable to sit correctly!
So, it turns out that despite being absolutely ridiculous, the device pretty much works as advertised. It essentially annoys you into sitting up straight, though it must be noted that you have to actually know
how to stand up straight in order to set the device properly. We can't really say how it will (or, more likely, won't) affect our posture long-term, but like the Wii Fit
before it, it definitely gets you thinking consciously about your body, which can't be a terrible thing. Sure, it's a little preposterous for $89.95, but, just as we were writing this, we decided to check out the iPosture website and it turns out that we're all in luck -- it's gone on sale for the holidays for $49.95. Oh, and we still haven't gotten around to reading Young, Sexy and Healthy
yet, but we'll be sure to let you know how it is once we do. It looks like a real page-turner. Check out the gallery for some more captivating images.