23rd March, 2016 4 min read
Now that we sat on the idea of a smart chair, there had to be more things that this chair could do. Not because we want to add features, but because it should inherently do these things. Most of these things were thought of from the beginning, however, they were to be implemented in phases or stages. The previous blog post here was stage one, of what we had in mind. So if you haven’t gone through it already, then now would be the right time to do so. Coming from the previous blog post, the chair detects presence. It senses when a person is sitting on it, and if this sitting time is large, it alerts the user by sending feedbacks. The feedbacks can be defined by the user, however by default initially the LED color becomes red from green, then later a haptic feedback is given, post which is a buzzer sound. The buzzer sounds at the edge of being subtle and marginally irritating, in case you start liking the haptic feedback! This hopes to ensure that the person would get up, and break the stretch by a stretch. Maybe take a short walk too. All this information is also accessed through a mobile application. The application is chair specific, and can thus detect your total sitting time on that chair. The application can also pop up notifications on your device, phone or tablet or laptop. These push notifications, too, hope to push you from prolonged sitting.
The chair was complaining that it was being objectified a lot. Everyone thought it as a mere object to sit on. People didn’t listen to it and were taking it for granted. It hasn’t even been given a voice for people to hear its thoughts. All the chair wants is to serve its people and keep them fit.
We wanted to give these chairs a voice. A voice that would benefit you. We know that sitting constantly has increased multifold since the rise of desks and computers, and the chair knows this too. This gradually takes us to get a detailed response from the chair. Giving the chair to talk as much as it can. That is, if the person is not sitting in the correct posture, slouching, it would prompt you to not do so. The chair would now couple the available information, and suggest the user to sit upright, get proper lumbar support, and remind them not to slouch, and so on, along with already mentioning extended sitting period of time.
The otherwise considered a dead object, a chair, would be sent up to get revamped to the cloud, and down will come its reincarnated version, which is smart, eloquent, has an opinion, has a voice, and wants to better your life.
The chair is retrofitted with the device which has cushioned pads to be placed on the seat base and on the back. These pads can just be placed on the chair with no alteration to any chair. The wireless module straps to the back of the chair. The padded sensors detect posture of the person sitting on it. It has six sensing positions and detects whether a person is sitting in any combination of these six sensors. Theoretically, this arrangement can decipher six factorial possibilities of permutation and combination, which equates to 720 sitting possibilities. So it is to the analytics to make sense of this vast input data. That is our next step. However for now, for all practical purposes, it detects if the person is sitting in front of the chair, sitting fully without resting back, or resting back but still slouching, so on and so forth.
The sensors relay data to a cloud-based database, which is populated every second with data from all of these sensors. That’s a lot of data! This data is worked on, on a script which is run on a server system which contains the algorithm and instructions as to what to do –‘if this then what’. The result of this algorithm and logic decides what the chair should do. If the person is slouching for a long time, the algorithm decides to send a push notification on the user’s web browser or phone. The algorithm also decides if it in fact should be a push notification or an auditory or haptic feedback. And only this string of instruction is sent to the chair over the internet, and the chair acts as per the instructions it receives.
This module is thus placed on any chair, and it can be connected to the cloud with just a few set-up steps that the user can do herself from her phone or laptop. The device is completely wireless and plug and play. The battery it uses is standard one, found everywhere and can be replaced easily. On a single charge, it would last for weeks on end.
So now that all this is done, ‘what’s next?’ I hear you ask. The next is big. Next deals with presence. And the lack of it. Where is detecting presence of significance? Aahhh!