A Webcam Based Posture Sensor

Webcam based posture sensor

Even for hobby projects, iteration is very important. It allows us to improve upon and fine-tune our existing designs making them even better. [Max] wrote in to tell us about his latest posture sensor, this time, built around a webcam.

We covered [Max's] first posture sensor back in February, which utilized an ultrasonic distance sensor to determine if you had correct posture (or not). Having spent time with this sensor and having received lots of feedback, he decided to scrap the idea of using an ultrasonic distance sensor altogether. It simply had too many issues: issues with mounting the sensor on different chairs, constantly hearing the clicking of the sensor, and more.  After being inspired by a very similar blog post to his original that mounted the sensor on a computer monitor, [Max] was back to work. This time, rather than using an ultrasonic distance sensor, he decided to use a webcam. Armed with Processing and OpenCV, he greatly improved upon the first version of his posture sensor. All of his code is provided on his website, be sure to check it out and give it a whirl!

Iteration leads to many improvements and it is an integral part of both hacking and engineering. What projects have you redesigned or rebuild? Let us know!


  1. Sugapes says:

    IMHO keeping the same posture for a long time should always be considered a bad posture. If you change postures frequently even bad postures can become good, as if you average all the postures over time you should get no particular strain on any specific muscles…

    • Whatnot says:

      That makes sense to me, but there are really bad postures though, so perhaps one can make something to detect the really bad ones and allow for a range of not-so-bad ones.

      I’d never advise to use a camera though, not to something that is networked at least.

  2. igoae says:

    What if I don’t have a camera or cover it with a piece of tape (in a laptop)? Will it work too?

  3. Nobody says:

    Sitting straight up is not good posture, and has been known for at least 8 years. Unless you enjoy lumbar pain, a more open trunk angle of 130-135 degrees is optimal. http://www2.rsna.org/timssnet/media/pressreleases/pr_target.cfm?ID=294

  4. Sebastian says:

    I’ve programmed something similar, with the Intel perceptual processing SDK: http://www.zipfelmaus.com/blog/intel-perceptual-challenge-app-sit-perfect/

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