Move over wearables, Darma wants “sittables” to be the new trend as it prepares to launch its smart cushion for your office chair. The device monitors your sitting position, heartbeat, respiration and stress level.
Darma, a graduate of the Haxlr8r hardware accelerator, is raising money on Kickstarter with plans to begin shipping the device by June 2015. Backers can get a cushion for as low as $99, down from the expected retail price of $199.
CEO Junhao Hu’s goal is to go beyond mere data and provide users with guidance on how to improve their sitting. By taking the non-wearable approach, the startup is also trying to avoid the barriers that come from actually wearing a product. For instance, Darma’s battery life will be roughly one month, much longer than your average fitness band.
Since Darma’s only a cushion, it doesn’t have information about your entire posture, but it tries to keep tabs on whether the way you’re sitting will cause pain in your shoulder, neck and back. For what it’s worth, I’m skeptical about the accuracy of measuring upper posture just based on data from your butt. It can, however, track whether you’re learning forward or backward, which does have some bearing on the healthiness of your posture.
At the least, the cushion can monitor how long you’ve been sitting for and send you a reminder to get up and move around. It can also suggest step-by-step stretches to keep you active.
I’m not yet convinced that I need a smart cushion, but if you’re ergonomically-minded, you might want to check this one out.