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60 seconds with the wearable that might save your back

Mat Smith, @thatmatsmith
November 7, 2014
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This Insert Coin contender could well cure what we call "Engadget back": the slightly unappealing hunch that some editors (read: this editor) descend into after typing away at one too many articles or trade shows. The Upright sticks (through a hypoallergenic adhesive strip) to the small of your back, where it uses multiple sensors -- an accelerometer and a strain gauge -- to monitor the line of your spine -- and tell you through gentle vibrations when you're doing it wrong. We just tested it briefly here at Expand, and the reminder vibrations are far more gentle than, say, your smartphone. It kinda feels like soda water on your skin: enough to remind you that you're slouching but not enough to grate. The team behind it reckons that 15 minutes a day will be enough to reeducate your back muscles and a Bluetooth connection links the device to your smartphone to keep everything recorded for future posterity.

Now, you'll need the phone to initially calibrate the device -- we were told to sit upright, move a little, then slouch... and move a little more. The Upright then knows what's going on with your spine and crafts a slouchline on a graph that you can scrutinize on the smartphone app. If your back curves beyond that, then the vibrations kick in and you straighten up your posture... at least that's the plan. Fortunately, the design is subtle and slender enough to be attached under clothing without much fuss. Unlike similar products like the Lumo Lift, the focus here is all on the spine, which is exactly what's slouching. The product's been in development for two years so far, and the creators have heavily involved health professionals in the process to get things right. The Upright team plans to roll out final hardware to early crowdfunding backers by March 2015, with a retail launch soon after. Here's the hard sell:

Engadget Expand: 60 Seconds with Upright


Edgar Alvarez contributed to this report

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
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