Sitting on a chair for prolonged hours either working from home or holding/attending online classes has led to a rise in backaches, cervical pains or headaches, which are mainly the result of slouching and other bad postures when seated.
Recognising this problem, Class 10 students of Shiv Nadar School, Gurugram, have come up with an innovative solution. They have developed a product that not only "alerts" the user to correct his/her posture, but also provides a relaxing massage to the stressed areas to provide instant relief.
Called Postura, the product is a multipurpose, wearable and cost-effective portable device which can be run on power and batteries too.
"The innovation is an outcome of the Capstone Project at Shiv Nadar School, Gurugram, an annual competition, wherein students are encouraged to ideate and devise economically viable and creative solutions to address real-world problems," says Mark Nelson, Project Lead, IT at Shiv Nadar School, Gurugram, adding the process is divided into three parts - identifying problems, find solutions, and then building a prototype. Postura won the competition.
“Once our idea was approved, we started with working on the 3D model and then individual components were created. Thereafter, we contacted manufacturers for procuring hardware. The app came after that,” says Sparsh Jha, who made the prototype, after selecting its components and researching them.
The unique sensory mechanism of Postura alerts you when you slouch, making you correct your posture immediately. Using electronics and robotics, the product measures the number of times the body tilts and the period during which it was in an incorrect posture. This data is then synced with the device’s mobile app and users are given this information so as to take remedial measures to correct their posture.
Talking about how the product came into being, Vihan Motwani, responsible for surveying, researching, presenting and making the 3D model, says, "As we shifted to online classes, many of us began facing back pain issues. We realised something had to be done, and brainstormed among ourselves on how we can tackle this problem. We wanted to have a device that would not only help correct the posture but also massage."
But coming out with a working model was challenging. “Brainstorming was tough since all of us were at our individual homes. We had a couple of video conferences. Procuring material was another challenge since the markets were all closed and online shopping takes time,” says Gayatri Brijesh, who was involved with ideating, app development and presenting.
Once they managed plugging all this and the product was ready, it was tested on friends and relatives at home. "We had also undertaken some surveys to find out what were the common problems people were facing, so that we could have massages at those particular points," says Varnika Motwani, who was involved with ideating and designing the device. The students got their device approved from physiotherapists.
"We plan to conduct more tests on more people of different age groups, so that we could improve our design. This device is hand-made, and we now plan to contact manufacturers so that it could be made through machines, so that large scale production could be carried out," says Vihan.
While this device can be used by teenagers and adults, the students now plan to make variants that are suitable for smaller children (5-12 year-olds), as they too have long online classes. "We are thinking of developing a child-friendly model, wherein intensity of vibration will be less," says Varnika.