About this project
Beat Poor Posture.
End neck and back pain with ALEX!
ALEX is your wearable posture coach and posture tracker. It's the first wearable to accurately measure the angle of your neck and the position of your head, so you can put an end to neck pain.
More than 80% of office workers suffer from Forward Head Posture (FHP) or Text Neck. (Just look around.) These conditions are caused by looking down at laptops, smartphones and other digital devices for extended periods. Even if you've never heard of FHP or Text Neck, you probably know their effects: Soreness and stiffness in your neck and spine.
In the short term, FHP and Text Neck can make it that little bit harder to get out of bed in the morning or to sit in your chair at work. In the long term they can lead to chronic pain and more serious spinal issues. Medical studies have even shown that physiological changes invoked by bad posture can include increased levels of cortisol and decreased testosterone, leading to stress and depression.
Many products promise relief from the pain cause by an epidemic of poor posture. We've tested out quite a few wearables and found that they're often overly complicated, inaccurate or inconvenient. And while pills and massage therapies exist to treat the pain, none of these options effectively treat the underlying problem: Poor posture.
Our team of biomechanical engineers, developers and technology experts created ALEX to be different.
ALEX doesn’t treat your pain, but addresses the causes underlying your pain by gently coaching you towards better posture, every day.
How ALEX Works
A number of other wearables claim to determine posture via devices fixed on your wrist or clothing. ALEX, on the other hand, sits lightly on the back of your neck, the only reliable location to measure neck posture.
When you adopt poor posture for more than a few minutes, ALEX vibrates gently, encouraging you to improve. You can customise the exact length of time and the intensity of the vibration using ALEX’s companion smartphone app.
The app also lets you track your progress over time and monitor your posture in real time.
ALEX can track the angle of your neck and the position of your head, relative to your body. This means it can tell if you’re looking too far down or if you’re holding your head too far forward.
4 Easy Steps to Wearing ALEX
Squeeze or separate the legs of the device to adjust the position of the sensor module to just below your hairline.
Place the sensor module on the back of your neck and hang the legs over your ears. ALEX's legs will naturally unfold to achieve the correct position.
Ensure that Alex is not placed on top of a shirt collar, or other clothing or jewelry.
Check that the sensors are working correctly by selecting Avatar Mode in the companion coaching app and tilting your neck back and forth while watching the screen. You can calibrate ALEX for your own posture using the app.
About the Coaching App
The accompanying coaching app will help you get the most from ALEX. It offers a number of unique features that help you track your posture over time and make improvements.
Avatar Mode allows you to view and manage posture changes in real-time. The app also provides graphs that track your progress toward improving your posture with ALEX. The video below demonstrates these features.
The companion coaching app's feedback settings let you set the length of time before ALEX alerts you to poor posture, the angle at which it determines your posture to be poor, and the strength of the vibration.
ALEX communicates with your phone or tablet using Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy. This saves your phone's battery, extends ALEX's battery life to seven days, and reduces the number and duration of Bluetooth transmissions.
We're working on even more features and will announce these in due course!
ALEX is buzzing
The Technology Inside ALEX
Vibration Motor: Provides feedback to users when they adopt poor posture. (This is built into ALEX. You don't need to rely on your phone for poor posture alerts.)
Tri-Axis Motion Sensor: Measures the angle of your neck in real time and sends data to the companion application.
Bluetooth 4.0 LE: Connects ALEX to the app on your mobile device.
Flash memory: Retains posture data temporarily before syncing with the App.
LED: Indicates power status (on/off), Bluetooth connectivity status, and battery recharging status.
Why We Developed ALEX
Our founding team began with an idea of creating something to protect people against the health concerns brought on by prolonged computer and smartphone use. We thought; 'Protective clothing is available for dangerous work and for sports, so why not when we do other activities that also lead to ill-health?
Our CEO, Jonathan and Co-Founder, Youngjoon, a Biomedical Engineering Professor, spent years finding a solution that really addresses the shortcomings of other posture wearables.
We also wanted to create something that would resolve poor posture in the long term, rather than provide a quick fix through short term pain relief. The idea is that once ALEX coaches you to better posture, you’ll develop muscle memory and no longer need to wear it.
Where We Are In Development
We began designing the technology for ALEX around two years ago. By late 2014 we were able to track poor posture using this technology and began work to bring it to life.
Through numerous iterations we've worked tirelessly to ensure that ALEX tracks posture with precision, looks and feels great and makes a positive long term impact on health.
We're proud of how much we've achieved. We have been testing market-ready prototypes and have completed development of the complimentary smartphone app. Finally we're ready for production and we're excited to partner with the Kickstarter community to kick off production. You can be one of the first to try ALEX yourself, with delivery to backers scheduled for May 2016.
Please note that we've updated our stretch goals based on valuable feedback from our backers. Thank you!
Stretch Goal 1: $75,000
Extend Battery Life to 10 Days
Right now ALEX’s battery lasts about 7 days between charges. That’s enough for most situations, but longer battery life is always better, right? If you help us reach $75,000, we’ll increase ALEX’s battery capacity so that you get a full 10 days between charges. That’s perfect if you’re going on an extended business trip, are planning a coding binge, or you’re like us and sometimes just forget to charge your devices.
Call and Text Notifications
If you’re already wearing ALEX, why not take advantage of its vibration motor to notify you when you have an incoming text message or call? If you help us reach $75,000 we’ll add this feature and the ability to adjust the type of vibration you feel in the ALEX app.
The Team behind ALEX
Our CEO, Jonathan Kim, founded NAMU (Korean for “tree”) along with long-time friend Youngjoon Chee. Jonathan has nearly 20 years of experience working in technology, finance and healthcare. Over time these three disciplines merged and he brings his vast experiences into NAMU.
Co-founder Youngjoon is a Professor of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Ulsan in South Korea, and earned his Ph.D. and M.S. in Biomedical Engineering at Seoul National University.
Materials & weight
- Sensor case : Skin wearable bio-compatible (ABS) Legs : Squeezable and stretchable (Silicon with metal wire inside)
- Total weight: 25g
- Lithium Polymer (110mAh)
- Up to 7 days (10hours per day) on single charge.
- Zero to fully charged in 2 hours.
- Charges using standard micro USB cable 5pin (5V, 1A)
- Up to 4 weeks of posture data storage.
- Lifetime posture data storage in the cloud.
- Compatible with iOS and Android with Bluetooth (BTLE)
Thank you for taking the time to learn about our campaign. We would be honored for your contribution to help us bring ALEX to life. Please feel free to ask us anything about ALEX in the comments and we promise to get back to you as soon as possible.
Risks and challenges
Our team members are not industry veterans with regard to mass production. However, our production partner has over 20 years of experience to draw from (and someone who we worked in conjunction with for a year), so we're very confident about our production capabilities.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
When your posture is poor for more than a few seconds, ALEX reminds you to sit up straight with a gentle vibration. You can adjust the intensity, frequency and strength of the vibration in the companion coaching app. ALEX looks for two types of poor posture that cause pain and stiffness in your back and neck: forward head posture and “text neck”.
Yes! We made the legs that hold ALEX comfortably on your neck out of flexible but sturdy materials so it can adjust to your unique physiology. Whether you’re built like a professional wrestler or a ballerina, ALEX will fit just fine.
Alex does fit with a collared shirt. Please see the first video in the main content of our page, which shows how to adjust ALEX properly.
Generally the battery lasts for about seven days between charges, so you can use it all week long.
You’ll need your smartphone to set up ALEX the first time, to change settings like the frequency and duration of reminders, and to track your posture over time. However, even if your phone runs out of juice or is beyond Bluetooth range, ALEX can still work as your personal, wearable posture coach, vibrating to remind you to improve your posture.
We designed ALEX with glasses wearers in mind. In fact, pretty much everyone on our team wears glasses and we’ve logged countless comfortable hours wearing ALEX alongside our specs. The thin lightweight legs that wrap around your ears don’t interfere with your glasses at all.
We've selected materials that will stand up well under everyday use. The wires inside of ALEX's legs stay in place pretty well. You may need to make minor adjustments, but not too much. Again, please see the first video in the main content of our page.
In the companion coaching app, there is a calibration section that allows you to set ALEX to your own natural posture. You can use Avatar Mode in the app to check and make sure that ALEX is reading your posture correctly. Calibration takes seconds, but it is a very important first step to making sure ALEX works properly for you.
Worldwide, we've set a standard $10 shipping rate worldwide for each order. For those of you in our home country of Korea, we are able to provide free shipping.
We cannot ask for your address up front. This is one of Kickstarter's policies to protect your privacy. After the campaign ends, we will send you a survey asking you to provide us with your address. Please also see Kickstarter's FAQ for backers, here:
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