With many of us sitting at our desks for hours every day, poor posture has become an epidemic, leading to widespread backache and other ailments.
According to Israeli startup Upright, back pain relief starts with good posture. And that’s why its posture trainer, which discreetly attaches to your lower back, trains you to stand and sit upright. Every time you slouch, it gently vibrates, reminding you to correct your posture.
The gadget – which costs $130 – comes with a mobile app, tracking your progress and offering customizable training programs.
A leading cause of back pain
Founded in 2012 by Oded Cohen and Ori Fruhauf, Upright Technologies claims that by training for as little as five minutes a day, you can correct your posture.
The small startup of 13 employees claims it could help us get rid of our habit to slouch in a very creative way. Its tiny silicone device is invisible when placed under your shirt. It connects to your back via scotch tape, and reminds you to sit up straight. The idea for Upright was born after Cohen’s mother had experienced constant back pain. “I promised her I would find a way to relieve her pain,” Cohen tells NoCamels.
About three years ago, the company raised $155,000 on crowd-funding platform Indiegogo, more than doubling its original goal of $70,000. Immediately thereafter, Upright Technologies sold 1,700 units to customers around the world – and realized they had hit something big.
Capitalizing on the wearable technology trend
“We’re riding on two big waves right now – the wearable trend and the wellness trend,” Fruhauf says. “Everything is becoming wearable – from the iWatch, to the Google glasses, these devices are becoming more accessible to the wider public. On the other hand, we’re utilizing the wonderful wellness trend sweeping the world – to be healthier, look better, and mainly feel better”.
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Using the app, the customers build their personalized training plans for better posture. Input your weight, age, and the number of hours you sit during the day, and the app will build your plan for you. Once the device is attached, a gentle electrical pulse is transferred, and a light vibration is felt every time you slouch. The vibration’s intensity and other features can be adjusted.
In addition, a physical therapist can answer any questions in real time through a chat feature. According the Upright, the training program can help whether you’re wearing the device for five minutes a day for a whole hour.
“It’s natural for us to slouch sometimes,” Fruhuaf says. “Upright trains your muscles to have the ability to sit up straight whenever you like.”
According to the company, hospitals the world over are using the device to help their patients, and “raving customer reviews have been gushing in, claiming an incredible back pain relief.”
More productive and alert
Upright can also help in the workplace. Nearly half of the labor force in America suffers from head, back or neck pains, which negatively impact their ability to work, costing US employers about $7 billion per year.
According to a study recently conducted by Upright and Ernst & Young, after a few weeks of consistent training with the device, E&Y Israel employees improved posture and decreased back pain. As a result, more than half of the participants felt more productive and alert while at work.
Upright Technologies recently won the first-place award at the MEDICA App Competition for Best Medical Mobile Solution. The competition was part of one of the world’s largest medical trade fairs. Last year, Upright presented at CES, the largest tradeshow of consumer electronics in the world, held in Las Vegas. So far, Upright Technologies has raised $3 million from investors.
While several clinical trials are ongoing in the US and in Israel, Upright is pending an FDA approval. However, Fruhauf is optimistic: “We’re very lucky to have founded a company based on a product that can truly change people’s lives for the better.”
Photos and video: Courtesy