We are the generation of poor posture. Video games, computer games, smartphones, you name it—we squint and slump over with our little T-Rex arms to mess with our screens. I am, in no uncertain terms, not a medical professional, but I have noticed that of the kids in my social circle who play more computer and video games, they’re also the ones with the worst posture. Not that I’m one to talk. I’m hunched over my computer with T-Rex arms as we speak.
But bad posture doesn’t have to come with the territory of being a geek. One company—Lumo BodyTech—is fighting bad posture through a smart sensor and smartphone app, and the company announced Wednesday that it has raised a $5 million Series A round led by Madrona Venture Group, with help from Innovation Endeavors and Jerry Yang.
When you slouch, your muscles and ligaments have to work harder to keep you balanced, which leads to fatigue, headaches, back pain, and more. So Lumo BodyTech’s first product, LumoBack, is a little lightweight sensor that monitors your posture and movement and vibrates when you slouch or sit for an extended period.
The smartphone app then gives you real-time data visualizations so you can see exactly how you’re positioned, how many times you slouched during the day, when you slouch more, and so on.
The sensor is strapped to the lower back, which the company says is because your pelvic position is the foundation for good posture. You can purchase a sensor from the Lumo BodyTech website for $149.
“The natural progression is from measurement to analysis and recommendation, and that’s where the Lumo Body Tech team really shines,” said Scott Jacobson of Madrona Venture Group, in a statement. “Their products provide real-time feedback to help people correct behaviors in the moment, taking small actions that can drive large, long-term improvements in health.”
Companies utilizing smart sensors are one of the fast growing categories among health startups. Recently, Halle Tecco, CEO of health tech accelerator Rock Health, said in a blog post that among the needs that Rock Health is looking to address is the use of “smart health sensors to bring down the costs of diagnostics and monitoring.”
One of the companies to come out of Rock Health is Cardiio, a touch-free heart monitoring app that uses your iPhone’s front-facing camera to measure the light that’s reflected off of your face. Each beat of your heart pumps blood into your face, and an increase in blood volume causes more light to be absorbed—thus, less light is reflected off of your face. Using your iPhone’s camera technology, the Cardiio app can measure virtually imperceptible changes in your face to gauge your heart rate.