After sitting, standing and walking like a caveman for pretty much all of Macworld/iWorld 2013, it was fitting that one of my last stops of the show was to visit the folks behind the LUMOback posture sensor. Now, I know what you're thinking: "A posture sensor? Seriously? This biometric tracking thing has gone too far!" I don't blame you; in fact, that was exactly my line of thought before I saw what they're doing. But as a longtime back pain sufferer, I can't help but applaud what this device's creators are trying to accomplish.
Another Kickstarter success story, the LUMOback (US$149) is a band-style sensor that you wear on your lower back with the help of an adjustable strap. Designed by three Stanford graduates, the gadget is able to tell if you're slouching or otherwise maintaining improper posture when sitting, standing or even walking, and gives you feedback by both vibrating and sending updates to a companion iOS app. In fact, the data is accurate enough for the app to generate a charming avatar that accurately mimics your current posture, so you can see exactly what you're doing right (or, in most cases, wrong).
The idea behind the hardware and software combo is to encourage proper posture so that you'll ultimately feel better. As LUMOback co-creator and CEO Monisha Perkash explained to me, it's meant to be both a guide and a continual reminder to sit and stand straight. It'll also give you a heads up if you've been sitting for too long, something I can definitely appreciate as a writer. That way, over time you'll develop a habit of doing both and reap the benefits, such as less back discomfort, a stronger core and even potentially more confidence.
LUMOback works with any iOS device that supports the Bluetooth low energy standard, so that means any iPhone after and including the 4S, the third- and fourth-generation iPad, the iPad mini and the fifth-generation iPod touch. It charges via a micro-USB connection and its battery lasts about four days between charges.
We're planning to do a full review of the LUMOback on TUAW, so if it seems like something of interest to you, you'll want to stay tuned.