Experiment 2: Sit Bit


“Sitting long hours as bad as smoking a pack of cigarettes daily” [1]. The aim of this project is to discourage a sedentary lifestyle by helping escape the prolonged sitting periods and their harmful effects. This technology helps people with desk jobs to stand up and stretch out at regular intervals. It has two components, the first one is attached to the backrest of the chair that uses a proximity sensor to detect if the user is seated or not. The other part is a reactive heart placed on a desk that reminds the user to stand up and reacts to the user’s behavior.

In the idle state, it behaves like a desktop object with a lit-heart. When the user sits on the chair, the heart starts beating at a normal rate. After 20 mins of seating, the heart starts beating extremely fast warning the user to stand up and take a break. They would then have to stand, exercise, move, do whatever but not sit on the chair until a total of 2 minutes break. To rest the heart, they would have to listen to the heart and don’t sit for at least 2 minutes, and then eventually the heart would return to the idle state.

I had quite a few crazy ideas of implementing the stand-up reminder like “A smiley face which would become sad if you don’t stand up”, “Generating a fart sound from the chair if you don’t stand up” or “Playing a voice saying “Get up! Get up!”. I decided to work on the “Reactive Heart”  since it seemed very natural and easy to be relatable to the user’s health.

This project uses two principles of Calm Technology:

Technology can communicate but doesn’t need to speak: The heart object reacts in a natural way conveying the user the information they need to know. There is no sound or distracting elements of over-communication to the user. Simply blinking one Red LED in a few ways is sufficient to reflect the effects of prolonged seating and encourage users with healthy behavior.

Technology should amplify the best of technology and the best of humanity: This system is designed for people first. There is no explicit action that’s necessary for the user to behave like a machine or click a button, or perform any unnecessary repetitive action. The system is smart enough and computes everything by itself. Users simply have to sit, work, take a break. That’s it. All the necessary state changes are handled by the computer.

Experience video link | How it works video link

Final project Images

final_4final    final_3final

final_1final    final_2final

Development Images/Videos

Concept video with a clock (using a servo): https://ocadu.techsmithrelay.com/Q9JM

dev_1dev dev_2dev



Link to Arduino code on Github


Circuit diagram




[1] https://www.onmanorama.com/lifestyle/health/2021/07/22/sitting-long-hours-bad-as-smoking-pack-cigarettes-daily.html