Cris Mora: Slouch (& Crouch!) Detection Suspenders

I am a chronic sloucher.  Particularly at work and overtime this can have a serious impact on one’s health.  This project was born out of the desire to eliminate a self- induced workplace hazard, combined with the realization that our work places can now be anywhere.  Therefore, the solution had to be mobile and not site specific to any particular office or workspace.

The outcome: The Slouch (& Crouch!) Detection Suspenders!  The product is actually quite simple, but as this was my first encounter with Arduino it had to be.  The tension in the spine caused by slouching in the chair or crouching over the keyboard is measured by a stretch sensor that is sewn into the back of the suspenders.  If the sensor passes a certain threshold, which signals bad posture, a buzzer and LED sign on the desktop is activated and will only stop once the wearer returns to a proper seated position.

   

I first tried a flex sensor, but it proved to be unreliable and had problems integrating with the stretchy material of the suspenders.  The stretch sensor proved to be more reliable and appropriate.  Another issue that required attention, was that the baseline resistance of the stretch sensor was not consistent.  It would vary depending on how the suspenders were worn.  Therefore, the predetermined threshold level would not always be useful unless it was re-calibrated each time.  This was resolved, with Nick’s help, by inputting an “analogRead” command in the setup code so that a new baseline reading was taken each time and the threshold level was based on this new reading.

I wanted humour to be an important aspect of this project.  We all know that proper posture is good for us, but hate to be nagged about it, so I wanted the reminder to be fun.  That is why there is something cartoonish about it.  I like that they are bright red and look like something Wile E. Coyote could have ordered from ACME.

In this prototype, all the parts are connected by wires.  In future iterations, I would like the suspenders to be battery powered with a wireless signal being sent to the desktop sign.  Another variation would be for the suspenders to be a self-contained unit with the alert being built into the suspenders themselves, so that they would be effective wherever the wearer sat.

Enjoy!

2 comments to Cris Mora: Slouch (& Crouch!) Detection Suspenders

  • The packaging also reminds me of products from this place: http://www.superherosupplies.com/invisibles-d9/

    Good documentation. How sensitive is the stretch sensor in this context? Could it ultimately tell you how much your slouching? Or are there other sensors you could combine it with to get more information about the slouching?

  • Cristopher Ramon Mora

    Ya. I encountered the Super Heroes Supply store years ago, but totally forgot about them. After I followed the link I remembered this place that I saw in London: http://www.monstersupplies.org/. Along the same lines. I think it acts as the store front to a creative writing collecting in East London…not far from where I used to live.

    I don’t think the stretch sensor, as currently built in was sensitive enough to give an accurate ‘Slouch Reading.’ I think only useful to identify a break in a threshold value.

    After I posted this on my facebook, a friend of mine brought this to my attention: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LeelDea4-d8