Color-changing LED stools let you know if you’re sitting with bad posture

led stool good posture img 2931

Sitting down for hours on end is bad for you. But what is the best way to prompt folks to get up and stretch their legs every so often? Looking for a solution to that very issue has previously led designers, technologists and engineers to create everything from standing desks to the Apple Watch’s periodic reminders that you should get up and move around. A new effort from German research organization Fraunhofer may be our favorite approach yet, however.

They have developed a special LED stool which is designed to encourage healthy sitting, and prompt “active, conscious movements” while a person is sitting down. The health benefits of promoting healthy back movements could not just help reduce back pain (an obvious side effect of sitting with poor posture), but also cardiovascular problems, excess weight, and high blood pressure, which can result from an inactive lifestyle.

The stool is fitted with a variety of sensors and LEDs which offer color-coded feedback regarding the way that you are sitting, as well as providing more detailed information through a connected app. The pressure sensors in the stool identify incorrect posture through measuring a user’s weight distribution on the seat. The seat can even lead you through defined movement exercises.

Oh, and did we mention the games? That’s right: since this is a proof of concept, the researchers went one step further and constructed a gaming table which lets people play seat-related games. Okay, so a game that you control by sitting nicely doesn’t sound amazing, but in this case the results are pretty neat. The researchers reworked classic titles like Pong, in which you control the on-screen paddles by making certain pelvic movements.

“We know from scientific research that the balancing movements have a positive impact on mental performance in terms of concentration and productivity,” Nguyen-Truong Le, one of the researchers on the project, told Digital Trends. “By playing games in such ways at work, social interaction with co-workers can be improved.”

There are no immediate plans for commercialization. Instead, the researchers point to this as a demonstration of its soft pressure sensors. These can be built into a wide range of environments, including not only stools, but also mats, steering wheels, and far more. They could therefore be used for a wide variety of applications. Don’t give up hope if you’re dreaming of getting your hands on these smart stools, though. “There will be an open-source distribution of the instructions, including the CAD files and the software to rebuild this product idea,” Le continued. “Everyone can benefit from this project.”

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: heat-powered watches, phone cases with reflexes

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Mobile

Get $100 discount on the Razer Phone 2 for a limited time

The Razer Phone 2 is finally here, and it's got upgraded specs, that super-smooth 120Hz display, and an updated design. Here's absolutely everything you need to know about the Razer Phone 2.
Photography

These point-and-shoot cameras make your smartphone pics look like cave paintings

If your smartphone camera just isn't giving you the results you're looking for, maybe it's time to step up your game. The latest and greatest point-and-shoot cameras offer large sensors, tough bodies, and long lenses -- something no phone…
Home Theater

Sony’s 360 Reality Audio is the epic sound revolution you didn’t know you needed

After Sony’s utterly bizarre press conference, I almost missed what was perhaps the most impactful sonic experience at the show. Luckily, I went back to Sony’s booth on the last day of the show, only to have my mind blown.
Emerging Tech

Ford’s sweaty robot bottom can simulate 10 years of seat use in mere days

Ford has developed 'Robutt,' a sweaty robot bottom that's designed to simulate the effects of having a pair of human buttocks sitting on its car seats for thousands of hours. Check it out.
Emerging Tech

CES 2019 recap: All the trends, products, and gadgets you missed

CES 2019 didn’t just give us a taste of the future, it offered a five-course meal. From 8K and Micro LED televisions to smart toilets, the show delivered with all the amazing gadgetry you could ask for. Here’s a look at all the big…
Emerging Tech

Want to know which drones are flying near you? There’s an app for that

Want to know what that mysterious drone buzzing over your head is up to? A new system developed by AirMap, Google Wing, and Kittyhawk.io could soon tell you -- via a map on your phone.
Emerging Tech

A Japanese hotel fires half its robot staff for being bad at their jobs

Japan’s oddball Henn na Hotel has fired half of its 243 robot staff. The reason? Because these labor-saving machines turned out to be causing way more problems than they were solving.
Emerging Tech

CERN plans to build a massive particle collider that dwarfs the LHC

CERN already has the world's biggest particle accelerator. Now it wants a bigger one. Meet the 9 billion euro Future Circular Collider that will allow physicists to extend their study of the universe and matter at the smallest level.
Emerging Tech

Forget fireworks. Japan will soon have artificial meteor showers on tap

Tokyo-based startup Astro Live Experiences is preparing to launch its first artificial meteor shower over Japan, serving as a showcase of its prowess in the space entertainment sector.
Cars

Robomart’s self-driving grocery store is like Amazon Go on wheels

Robomart's driverless vehicle is like an Amazon Go store on wheels, with sensors tracking what you grab from the shelves. If you don't want to shop online or visit the grocery store yourself, Robomart will bring the store to you.
Emerging Tech

Glowing space billboards could show ads in the night sky

Look up at the night sky in 2020 and you might see an ad for McDonald's floating among the stars. A Russian startup is working on a project that uses a constellation of small satellites in low-Earth orbit to create glowing ads.
Emerging Tech

New brainwave reader tells teachers if students are concentrating

Massachusetts-based startup BrainCo has developed brainwave-reading headbands which can reportedly help reveal if students are concentrating in class. Here's how they're being used.
Emerging Tech

Fears about kids’ screen use may have been overblown, Oxford researchers find

Many people take it as gospel that digital technologies are harmful to young people’s mental health. But is this true? A recent study from the University of Oxford takes a closer look.