Posture Sensor Reminds you to Sit Up Straight!

Hey you! Are you slouching? Probably. It might not seem like such a bad thing to do, but if you plan on sitting comfortably at that desk for the next 5-10 years or so, you’ve really gotta watch your posture. This is a problem [Max] has been trying to solve for a while now — and now he’s attempting to do it with a posture sensor.

His first take on this project utilized an ultrasound range finder, mounted to the back of a chair. Once calibrated, you would have to maintain a certain distance from the back of your head to the sensor, thus, keeping your back straight. It worked, but it wasn’t the greatest.

Next up, he tried utilizing a webcam and facial recognition software to determine if he was slouching forwards, backwards, or (however unlikely), maintaining good posture. It was better than the first prototype, but still needed some refinement. Now he’s onto his third iteration — this time, a wearable posture sensor!

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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!