This April, many students and working professionals across India complete around a year of working from home (WFH). Body aches, and strain on the neck, back and hip, have taken a toll on several people — all thanks to long working hours and incorrect sitting postures.
Having experienced these problems firsthand, four students from Gurugram’s Shiv Nadar School — Sparsh Jha, Gayatri Brijesh, Vihaan and Varnika Motwani — have developed a multi-purpose, wearable and cost-effective device called Postura. The device, which comes inside a pillow, helps correct the posture and also gives massages to the stressed areas of the back.
The Class X students came up with the battery-operated device as part of their school project during the lockdown, after working for months. They spent a little over Rs 2,000 to make Postura, and currently, it is at the prototype stage. The students, along with two school teachers, are working to bring Postura to the manufacturing stage and bring down the cost to Rs 1,000.
“Every year, the school conducts the Capstone Project, under which students are expected to identify a problem and develop a tech-based solution that is both easily available and low-cost. We collectively decided to address back problems, given that we would be able to test it on ourselves and that the prices of massage chairs are high. Only one of us visited the school to make the prototype in our laboratory, and the rest gave inputs on design, structure, etc via video calls. Fortunately, we assembled everything in our first try,” Vihaan tells The Better India.
To understand the problems that came with WFH, the students conducted an online survey where a majority of homebound people have been using improper DIY setups. Taking into consideration the feedback, the group not only made a provision that alerts an individual when their posture is incorrect, but also gives massages to relieve stress.
The students also involved a physiotherapist to get an informal medical clearance for the prototype. Meanwhile, testing was restricted to people in the house due to the spread of coronavirus.
More than a pillow
Postura has a unique sensory mechanism that alerts individuals when they slouch and trains them to correct their posture over a period of time. Designed using electronics and robotics, the product measures the number of times the body tilts and the period it was in an incorrect posture. This data is then synced with the device’s mobile app to provide users with intelligence on their posture and overall improvement journey.
Using animation software, the students printed a 3D model and ordered material including foam, battery, mortar, circuit and sensors online. The gyro sensors determine the improper posture and send vibrations accordingly. The massager is app-controlled and can be switched on by connecting Bluetooth.
All one has to do is place the pillow under the glutes and strap it to the chair, unlike other devices which need to be fixed onto the body, often making it uncomfortable.
“The device vibrates to alert you about your irregular posture. After the constant vibration alerts, your natural posture will be so erect that you won’t need regular alerts. The pillow has four buttons located on different sides, which alert you as soon as you deviate from the correct posture. The massager needs to be charged with an Android charger for an hour which can be used for five hours, ” says Gayatri.
Edited by Divya Sethu