“Would you like to gain three centimeters in height and lose three pounds?”
Oded Cohen is pitching me his new device with his favorite question.
The only answer, of course: Who wouldn’t?
The dongle in question is called Upright Go, a pint-sized, one-button device you place on your back. Paired with an app, it can correct your posture by slightly vibrating when you slouch.
Why is good posture important? Besides lending you an air of regal confidence, it turns out it’ll increase your productivity, help your digestion and improve your mental state. And solve your office’s biggest problem: sitting.
“Thirty-three million Americans suffer from back pain,” explains Cohen. “It’s the number-one reason for work absenteeism, and it’s a problem that’s growing 5-6% annually, thanks to our work life and all this wonderful smartphone technology we now have.”
Then there’s the height/weight thing: “And it makes you look sleeker and taller,” he adds. “Posture — it’s the foundation of well-being and how you perceive yourself.”
In theory, we’re sold. So was everyone else: the product was a $1M Kickstarter success in May, with over 13,000 backers. Now that it’s finally headed to retail, we were able to test one out.
Upright (3 images)
It’s simple to set up: You download the app, customize the training program (based on age, weight, how long you sit each day, etc.) and then adjust the vibration settings. This is important: if you regularly have to bend down for a moment (picking up paper or whatnot), you can avoid a constant barrage of warnings by setting a higher level of delay.
The Go attaches anywhere on your back and can be reapplied for several days with minimal care — and without pulling your hair. It feels like it’ll fall off at any moment, but unless you sweat a lot, it should stay on during sitting, walking, standing … pretty much any non-strenuous daily behavior.
So how’s it work? An algorithm senses subtle movements of the upper back and gently vibrates (again, you can adjust) to heighten awareness of your posture. Ideally, the device is training you to sit properly, meaning you can stop using it once it’s done its job.
Overall impressions? While I didn’t have time to go through the 27-day “training” program, I noticed a few things: the vibration is almost too subtle, even on its highest settings, though I did get used to its gentle nudge as time went on.
Also, you do need to keep the Go’s sticky surface clean (the device comes with alcohol swabs and additional adhesive pads). This works better if you’re just sitting at your desk or in a car than if you’re walking around.
Overall, the placebo effect of the device might be just as effective as the vibrations (which were pretty damn accurate): I was constantly checking the app and thinking about posture, even when the Go wasn’t on.
Upright Go is available now for $100.