Siguang Ma

Work

About

Design process.

Competitors research.

Promoting up-straight, tense posture.

Both leading company on the posture-improving market, Upright and Lumo considered the up-straight, tense posture as a better posture, yet recent research has disapproved such posture, which hyper-exaggerating the spine.

Discomfort.

Upright Go sticks a piece onto the user’s spine, a place where we never put anything on.

Only detects few types of bad postures.

Both devices detect hunching and slouching, but unable to recognize more complex unhealthy postures.

Existing
Office chairs research.

Mesh-back is the trend.

During the research phase, one thing that stands out to us is that most leading office chairs on the market use mesh as the material on the back because of its breathability. The thin mesh-back feature allows us to use magnets to attach the IMPO.

Sketching.

Attaching methods
development.

We started from a three velcro straps attachment system, then cut down to using two. Afterward, we tried to use only one strap; on the back of the fabric, we used silicone to increase friction, preventing the pad from sliding around. As we continued to improve the attachment system, we also went through a series of form explorations.

Detail development.

Finally, we designed an attachment system using two magnets, because it is simpler and more stable than other options. We also worked on the positions of the sensors and wiring inside the pad. When making these models, we used the opportunity to test different fabrics and colors. In the end, we chose to use a cotton fabric because of its breathability and it lays very flat on the back of the office chair.

Electronics
development.

To determine the positions of the sensors and to quickly test our prototyping code, we taped the sensors onto the fabric and connected with Arduino and a breadboard. After we have tested and achieved satisfying results, we zig-zag stitched the wires to the IMPO’s inside hidden layer of fabric to secure them. We also designed and prototyped our PCB.

Testing phase.

With working models, we did testing on the positions and sizes of the FSR pressure sensors to ensure that the sensors pick up correct data across users of different heights and body widths. We also did a 2-hours-testing with office workers to find out whether the IMPO accessory causes any discomfort. The users respond that they did not even feel the pad was there during the testing period.

Housing for electronics.

Working prototype.

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