We spend a lot of time hunched over our digital devices without much thought as to how it affects our health. Even so, anyone with an office job probably leaves their desk rubbing a very sore and stiff neck at the end of the day. Alex is a wearable that aims to help you stop craning your neck over your digital screens and improve your posture. You can even track your progress in an app.
Its creator, Namu, recently held both Indiegogo and Kickstarter campaigns that were successful, and now the Korean startup is showing it off at MWC 2016 in Barcelona. We took a look at it and tried it on. Here are our first impressions.
Although we’ve seen other behavior-training wearables, Alex isn’t something yo stick on your lower back, clothes, or chair. It’s a little headset that hooks over your ears and hangs around the back of your neck. From that point, the device’s array of embedded sensors can tell when you’re slouching and help you correct it.
The built-in vibration motor trains you to straighten your head and neck out when you start to regress into so-called texting position. It tracks your neck position with a tri-axis motion sensor and connects with your smartphone via Bluetooth 4.0 LE. The Alex packs some flash storage, so that you don’t have to sync your data all the time on its dedicated app. You’ll need to charge it now and then, but it shouldn’t be too often. The company hopes to lengthen it to 10 days for the final version. Status LED lights tell you when it’s on, off, connected, or recharging.
The app itself is easy to use and very clean looking. It simply shows your head position in real time and how good or bad it is with green, yellow, and red color coding. Red is obviously bad, though yellow can also spell trouble if you stay in that position for too long. The app will also show your progress overtime, so you can see if you’re improving your posture.
Why does it matter? Namu says that more than 80 percent of office workers suffer from Forward Head Posture (FHP) or Text Neck, and it can cause health problems down the road, including spinal issues, back pain, neck pain, headaches, and so on. Whether you want to actually wear this thing at work or not is up for debate, but it doesn’t look too conspicuous, especially if you have long hair.
The device costs $70, and if all goes as planned, Indiegogo backers will receive the devices they pre-ordered in June. It’s unknown when and where Namu will sell the Alex, though. In the meantime, you can read more about it here.