Published: 26th May 2021
Bad posture during WFH killing your back? This device created by Class X students during the lockdown can help
Postura has been developed by four students of Gurugram's Shiv Nadar School as part of their annual tech innovation challenge to solve problems faced by the community
Over the last year, working and studying from home has become the new normal. People have been spending long hours at their desks sitting idle on a chair, before their computer screens. This has undoubtedly led to many complaining of pain in their backs and necks, a consequence of hunched over posture while working on a computer. It is this problem, which is affecting millions worldwide, that students of Shiv Nadar School in Gurugram identified as part of their annual tech innovation challenge, Capstone Project, which aims to solve problems faced by the community at large. As part of the competition, which they won, the four students - Sparsh Jha, Gayatri Brijesh, Vihaan Motwani and Varnika Motwani - developed Postura, a device that will alert users when their posture, while sitting on a chair, is incorrect.
The device (describe what it looks like) not only alerts users when their posture is incorrect, but it comes with a built-in massager that can help relieve stress and pain while sitting on the chair. All users need to do is attach the device to the chairs. Explaining how Postura works, Sparsh says, "The device comes with a gyro sensor, which can calculate deviation from a set angle. The angle of the correct posture while sitting is about 85 degrees and if the user slouches the gyro sensor slouches with them. An alert is sent to the mobile app and the gyro sensor vibrates too, alerting the user about their incorrect posture."
The app is currently in development and only a beta version is available for users right now. "The app takes readings from the gyro sensor to monitor the rate of slouching and how long a user is slouching for. It then projects this information onto the screen," says Gayatri. The students also ensured that Postura is safe to use. "We consulted a renowned physiotherapist in Gurugram regarding the sensor placements. It is also advised that people who don't suffer from any chronic back pain or any pre-existing back problems should be the only ones using the device," explains Gayatri. "They must consult their doctors before using it," advises Sparsh.
Prior to developing Postura, the team of four did extensive research on the products available in the market. "We looked at other products available in the market and also did an online survey where we asked people how long do they spend working behind a computer screen. We also asked them if they had any aches in their back and necks," says Vihaan. "We found out that two products - a posture-correction belt and expensive massage chairs - were the only ones available in the market. There wasn't any product that could combine both and that is where we got the idea of designing Postura. The people who took the survey said that the product should be priced in the Rs 2,000 range," says Sparsh. And they did succeed to a great extent - Postura is priced at Rs 2,400 but Sparsh and the team hope that the cost will be reduced once they mass produce.
The students worked all through Class 10 on this device. All of them are now in Class 11. Most of their work happened amid COVID-19 restrictions. "I was allowed to go to school and use the IT labs there to assemble and finish the device. Others connected over video call and they were with me throughout the final assembly process," says Sparsh. The team purchased most of their raw material online after developing a 3D model of the device. They even got foam and fabric from a local merchant. "We are currently still making some alterations to the device. We have to also complete the patenting process for the device and also wait for the feedback after testing before we bring it to the market," says Gayatri.