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Smart chair to adjust your sitting posture

Image credit: https://www.absolutelifewellnesscenter.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Young-man-is-bent-over-his-table.jpg

Povilas S
Povilas S Jun 10, 2021
As I'm sitting and working with a laptop I have to remind myself to straighten my back often. Again and again I find myself in a bent or sloppy posture which is not very healthy when you spend a lot of time on a chair near a desk. It's easy to forget when you don't see yourself from aside.

A chair could be made that would simply inform you to straighten up when it would detect (using sensors or cameras) that you have deviated from a healthy posture. A person could choose how annoying the chair is - if you wanted to learn fast, it could scream at you every time you've taken a wrong position. If not, it could use more gentle alarms, harmonious sounds, shine or blink in colorful light, etc.

The user should be able to turn the reminders off completely whenever they wish. The chair could also have an intermittent relax mode - to let you get loose and sit however you feel like from time to time to let the back muscles rest for some time and then bring you back to a healthy posture again.

It could be coupled with the app on your desktop and a window in the corner of the screen would always feed back to you how your posture currently looks. A figure in a correct posture would be shown in parallel and as you straightened up you'd have to match that figure in a little game manner until you saw an affirmation that it is correct now.

There are products based on the same concept, but they are mostly wearables like this
meant to be attached to your back and vibrate whenever you slouch. While a wearable has an advantage that you can use it no matter if you sit, stand, or walk, the main disadvantage I see is that it might feel uncomfortable to always have a device sitting on your back. An item that you use anyway like a chair or a backpack is different in that regard.

A chair would only correct your posture while sitting, but its big size lets it have all kinds of cool features built into it, so the concept of a smart chair can be expanded beyond just something that straightens your back. It could have speakers to play music and feel the baseline while sitting on it, light up in various colours and intensities to serve as a night light, etc. That kind of chair would be a cool piece of furniture to have. What else could a smart chair do?

Creative contributions

Add-on features

Juran Jun 15, 2021
Here are some ideas of new chair features:
  • precise digital scale
  • it could detect your weight every day, all day while sitting, follow your diet routines, suggest meal plans, changes and become your personal weight assistant
  • sitting workout option
  • in addition to the previous, it could offer you stretching, balance, or strength exercises
  • adaptable stiffness
  • as an adaptation to your weight or just as an alarm that you sat for too long, the chair could change its stiffness from "very comfortable" to "hard" and force you to straighten your back up or get up and walk a bit

Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarnia month ago
Great points. Here are a few suggestions to realize them.

The chair can not only suggest but help with the workout. The arms of the chair can turn side-ways so that the user turns at the waist. Since the legs stay in the original position, the torso twists, and it gives the user a good stretch. With simple add-ons like a tape fixing the user's legs to the part of the chair that touches the user's calves, the user may be able to perform leg raises. Instead of weights, the chair can use resistance to alter the difficulty levels.

To alter the stiffness, the cushions need to be filled with an adjustable material. How about using magnetic beads? With no magnetic field around, the tiny beads will adjust themselves according to the movement of the user. However, when you want it to be hard in a particular structure, you turn on the magnetic field and the beads align themselves making the backrest straight. The beads will be tinier than the thermocol beads we use in a bean bag. The magnetic field could also provide a magnetic therapy to the user (https://www.webmd.com/pain-management/magnetic-field-therapy-overview and https://www.discovermagazine.com/environment/what-magnetic-fields-do-to-your-brain-and-body).

Equip the Chair with Small Rods

Samuel Bello
Samuel Bello Jul 25, 2021
The smart chair can be equipped with small movable rods or equivalent surfaces that guide the user's body physically when they sit on the chair. This will let the user get an intuitive feel of good postures. The rods can also be set up to keep the body in a certain position so that when the user tries to move, he feels the resistance of the rods and goes back to his former position.
Povilas S
Povilas S4 days ago
Good idea. Maybe instead of the rods, it would be better if the seat was composed of many small, turning balls. The rods (if I imagine what you mean correctly) would only be able to adjust your posture along one axis when turning balls could potentially guide your body in any direction. Shubhankar Kulkarni suggested something a bit similar in the comments under Juran's creative contribution.

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General comments

Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarnia month ago
Povilas S I like the biofeedback option that you proposed in the session text. Using a camera or sensors that detect the posture of the user, the chair can instruct the user to not only sit straight but maintan a proper head angle, elbow angle, the correct bend at the wrists (mostly while typing), and the correct angle between the torso and the legs. All of this matters a lot and pain arises due to sitting in a wrong posture for years (chronic).

Reference for the optimum angles required to maintain the correct posture: https://www.google.com/search?q=proper+sitting+posture+with+angles&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjezvewl5fxAhWabSsKHYaMD1EQ_AUoAXoECAEQAw#imgrc=YNin1iQ-h09lfM
Spook Louw
Spook Louw2 months ago
The Fraunhofer Smart Chair attempts to address the issues you mention - https://www.igd.fraunhofer.de/en/press/news/smart-chair-promotes-healthy-sitting

That said, I'm sure there are still loads of capabilities that could be incorporated into a smart chair. I think massaging is quite elementary and already exists. Perhaps these chairs could also have storage space, both digital and physical.
Povilas S
Povilas S2 months ago
Spook Louw Right. Perhaps I've done too little research on this. Nevertheless, I think the session is still valid as an encouragement to think of ways in which a smart chair can be improved and what functions it could serve. It is also a kind of extension to this idea: https://brainstorming.com/smart-table-for-home-office-use-(work-from-home-dream-furniture)/363
Spook Louw
Spook Louw2 months ago
Povilas S There's definitely a lot of space for very cool ideas in "smart" furniture. Especially from a decorative perspective, minimalism is very popular and allows for great innovations in multifunctional furniture.

Chairs, desks, bookcases, etc. with wifi and Bluetooth capabilities, or speakers and charging ports installed are quite common and very trendy, I think your approach of adding medical benefits to a chair is a good place to start thinking of ways to enhance furniture.

Another cool idea would be if someone could think of a way to make bookcases that are somehow dust repellent. Perhaps adding little nozzles that sporadically blows air over the books could help fight the buildup of dust? Or another potential idea within this theme would be desks that act as monitors or pads.

I'm sure there are loads of other amazing ideas we can come up with to add to the capabilities of otherwise rudimentary pieces of furniture!
Povilas S
Povilas Sa month ago
Spook Louw Your mention of self-cleaning bookshelves reminded me of another idea I've been pondering. That is if surfaces of furniture and various household items, perhaps also floor and maybe even walls had sensors that would detect the dust and dirt level on them and inform the inhabitants when they need cleaning.

The informing part could be done in various ways, but one rather playful way I thought about would be if they simply changed colour when a certain level of dust gathered on them so that the dust would become more visible. I noticed that I clean black surfaces more often, simply because the dust is more apparent on them, so if the surface had the ability to interactively change its colour to make the dirt and dust more visible it would be a "passive aggressive" way to encourage people to clean more often :D Or rather to clean when it's necessary:)

But such system also might instead simply interact with cleaning robots providing them with information when to clean and what to clean more. For the time being this could work with certain areas of floor for robotic vacuum cleaners, but in the future every separate item inside the house might interact with advanced cleaning robots.