Better posture can make in important difference for both the body and mind. Researchers and doctors find that a more upright posture not only makes us more confident at our jobs but also helps alleviate the nasty joint pain associated with desk work.
Now a new wearable aims to urge users into the habit of great posture: the Lumo Lift.
When this peanut shell-sized magnet, which clips onto a shirt near the collarbone, senses slouched shoulders, it sends a (frustrating) buzz until you’re standing tall. It also measures your good posture throughout the day — whether you’re sitting, running, or walking — for a daily readout.
This is how the device is supposed to work … in theory. But how does the $100 wearable nagging device work in practice? Lumo Lift finally gave some extended at-home trials of the device last week, and I got to try one out. Here’s what I found.
Decent detection but not perfect
Overall, the Lumo Lift is a vast improvement over their previous product, the Lumo Back, a belt-like contraption so inaccurate, the company asked me to cancel my review mid-way through. In contrast, the Lumo Lift can indeed tell me when my shoulders are slouched and rewards me for holding a nice upright position with my shoulder blades gently squeezed back.
After wearing it, I noticed myself trying to maintain good posture, even when it wasn’t set to buzz.
Unfortunately, Lumo Lift doesn’t work for every position. I like to sit on the floor cross-legged and work at my laptop. In a cross-legged position, it is possible to maintain a decent spine position by keeping the neck and back straight while tilting over at the hip. A spokesperson for the company had a less-than-satisfactory answer to this criticism. “It is not ideal to sit cross-legged for prolonged periods of time and work on a laptop,” she wrote. It may be true that it’s not ideal — but neither is sitting at a desk.
I’m hopeful that Lumo Lift will adjust its algorithm to recognize all reasonable postures in the future.
Coaching, not constant monitoring
Instead of constantly goading users into a better posture, Lumo Lift only vibrates during opt-in “coaching” exercises. During the sessions, a mobile app prompts users with motivational sayings like “Show that buzz who’s boss!”
A spokesperson for the company said that they decided to give feedback only during volunteer sessions, rather than 24/7, to save users from constant nagging: “We found that constant feedback could be overwhelming for people. We modified it to more of a training experience.”
I wish there were an option for constant feedback outside of coaching sessions. It’s hard to find the time to set aside parts of my day for yet another self-improvement plan. I just want it to buzz me whenever I find myself slouching.
That said, when I remembered to wear the Lumo Lift, it did a good job of reminding me to stand up straight.
Overall, though, the Lumo Lift does what it promises and could help alleviate the back pain and headaches associated with poor posture.
It’s also notable that the Lumo Lift eventually plans to recognize good posture during Yoga poses (although it’s not on the immediate product timeline). When this feature is available, we’ll be sure to review it for the yogis and yoginis who want to perfect their poses.