About this project
If you missed our Kickstarter, you can still place your order at http://darma.co
Let's talk about sitting...
Recent studies have linked sedentary behavior (measured by time spent sitting) to higher rates of obesity, Type 2 Diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and premature death. Physical inactivity is the second leading cause of death in the U.S. and the fourth in the world.
What the media is saying...
Also featured in...
Darma is the world's first "inactivity tracker" - a non-invasive smart cushion to monitor your sitting habits and improve your physical and mental health. Darma uses novel sensor technology and algorithms to offer actionable guidance to improve posture, balance sitting time and reduce stress.
How can Darma help you?
Darma gives you more than data. It learns your sitting habits to present you with actionable coaching, from stand-up reminders, to posture advice, to tailored stretching guidance. Darma communicates all of this through our iPhone and Android app or via your desktop computer.
Darma detects your posture and lets you know when you've been slouching for too long. Even better, it provides you live feedback and teaches you to sit properly, by extending the spine and engaging your core muscles.
Darma monitors your sitting time and offers reminders to make sure you take enough breaks throughout the day.
Everyone's sitting habits are unique. Therefore, Darma provides personal guidance by studying your individual habits and posture. It identifies specific areas of neck, back, and hip pain for each user and then suggests personalized stretches to help.
Darma's sensors are accurate enough to even detect and monitor your vitals including heart rate, heartbeat waveform, respiratory rate, and breathing waveform.
Since Darma knows your vital signs, it can establish a baseline and detect when your stress level is too high. It then suggests a brief breathing exercise to help you relax and regain your focus.
What does Darma mean?
Darma is named after Bodhidharma, the father of Zen and meditation. Our goal is to bring wisdom to everyday sitting.
Darma is for you if...
- You sit for many hours each day
- You have poor posture
- You suffer from back pain
- You care about maintaining your health
What are experts saying?
How is Darma different from other tracking devices?
Technology and Specs
Our newly designed sensor is just 1mm thick. Coupled with patented cutting-edge fiber optic sensor technology developed over five years of research, we measure everything from respiration, to heart rate, to stress levels, to posture more effectively and accurately than products currently on the market. Best of all, we've made it affordable!
Printed Circuit Board (PCB) design evolution
How Darma was born
Our team has experienced back pain firsthand. Being hard-working engineers, we spent long hours sitting in front of our computer or in our lab, developing fiber optic sensor technologies. When back pain started interfering with our productivity, we did some research. Of course we knew that bad posture wasn’t great for us, but never had we realized just how much damage sitting really caused! We decided to develop our technology for a product that would help us and our loved ones sit better, feel better, and lead longer, healthier lives. We created Darma.
How the rest of us met is a different story. Serendipity has amusing ways to sneak into life! But we’ll keep that story for some other time…
Meet the team
Our 'rockstar' advisors
Darma is honored to count Dr. Joan Vernikos, PhD and former Director of Life Sciences at NASA as its scientific advisor. Dr. Vernikos is the author of Sitting Kills, Moving Heals and a renowned figure in the field of sedentary health.
Hundreds of pro athletes and dozens of teams have relied on Dana Santas’ expertise to integrate yoga into their training programs. Darma is fortunate to tap into Dana’s knowledge of functional movement, stretching and breathing.
The game GuitarHero owes its existence to Charles and Kai Huang, founders of Red Octane. Their unique experience building a playful combination of hardware and software to global success is also a key asset of Darma.
We have been working very hard on developing the core technology behind Darma. Now, we need your help to bring Darma to life. Our Kickstarter campaign will help us raise the funds necessary to complete product development and begin manufacturing.
We also realize the paramount importance of early adopter feedback and we're therefore turning to the Kickstarter community and our backers to help us shape the product throughout its development. Darma is a very intimate product: our users will be sitting on it for many hours and interacting with our app multiple times a day. Currently, we have a basic app prototype that can detect and display the user's vital signs (heartbeat and respiration) and are looking to engage with our backers (YOU) to help us develop a fully working software that meets your needs. We want to make sure we deliver the best and most effective experience possible and we need all of you to make it happen!
Risks and challenges
We have been working on this technology for more than five years. With the support of the HAXLR8R ecosystem, a renowned startup accelerator focused on hardware, we spent the last year on the ground in China creating our first smart cushion and another year perfecting it. We are now fine tuning our design for mass production.
Our team brings together a multi-disciplinary approach to R&D, with vast experience in all relevant engineering and science fields. Having native Chinese engineers on the team is also proving to be an invaluable asset to navigate the manufacturing capital of the world, Shenzhen.
As part of our progress, we have assessed the risks and challenges inherent to designing and manufacturing a complicated product. We've already passed several tough tests, yet many challenges remain.
The tests we face now are often part of the process of taking a working prototype into mass production. Additionally, more research is needed to optimize our posture coaching algorithms.
From the start of this campaign until delivery, we will update you with our work and progress. If we run into unexpected issues or delays, we promise to keep you in the loop and handle them with full transparency.
SPECIAL THANKS TO:
Andreï Clødiüs for our logo and 3D files.
Noel Joyce for our industrial design
Steve Cho for our demo video
Rong Rong for our graphic design
Danling for our cute Buddha on T-Shirt
YY Lai from NTUitive
Anna Vital for our infographic
NIWA, QUITBIT, SYRMO, SHOTSTATS, OTTO, AVIDBOTS, KAST, HOARD, RATIONAL ROBOTICS
A*STAR and Institute for Infocomm Research in Singapore.
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