UpRightWe finally have an in-depth look at the new UpRight Posture Trainer. It promises to rebuild your posture using a clever mixture of technology and training science. Read on to see whether the hype matches the reality.
Jump straight to the review results
A Quick Recap on Posture Wearables
Just in case you thought that posture correctors were all made of various stretchy bands and straps that you struggled into and that held you rigid, we have news for you! The newest type couldn’t be any more different.
The UpRight is a small (half the size of a pack of cards), discreet, and trains your posture rather than forcing you into a position. It is the latest product in a small, select group that includes the early iPosture and the Lumo Lift (launched in 2013).
Each of these posture correctors attach to your body and/or clothing and use electronics to monitor your posture and give you reminders in real time. Two of them, the UpRight and Lift, also synch with your phone and computer so that you can track progress over time. They run using very sophisticated software and rely on rechargeable batteries to power them.
So What’s different About the UpRight?
Up until now, the market leader was absolutely the Lumo Lift. But now it finally has some real competition in the UpRight Posture Trainer. Let’s have a look at what this latest player brings to the party.
“UpRight is the only posture wearable sold specifically as a trainer . . .”
The UpRight team are keen to point out that their device is the only true posture trainer on the market. It is designed to be used for short “training” periods rather than worn continuously. This is a unique approach and, we believe has considerable merit.
Another key difference is that it attaches to the your lower back. This position lets the UpRight use a different set of sensors to measure and report your posture. The manufacturers claim that this position allows for more accurate postural measurement. Interestingly, the first version of the Lumo Lift (called the Lumo Back), used a sensor on the lower back too. Their current model (Lumo Lift) attaches to the user’s upper body.
To achieve this claimed accuracy improvement, the UpRight Trainer uses two sensors. It has an accelerometer (the same as the Lift), but the UpRight also boasts a unique “stretch sensor” that very accurately measures the user’s spinal angle and changing flexation. We’ll discuss this in more detail in our test results.
Our UpRight Test Results
When the team at UpRight Technologies Ltd asked us to review their new baby, we were more than happy to oblige. We have been waiting for new products in the wearable posture corrector market, and while there have been several promised (Arki, Prana) the UpRight is the first fully developed option since the Lumo Lift in 2013.
Out of the Box
Our UpRight arrived in a small, professionally presented box. You can tell straight away that this is a quality piece of equipment. We unwrapped everything and were pleased to find clear, easy to read instructions – a great first impression when you’ve spent your hard earned cash on a new product. You get:
- – an UpRight sensor
- – a charging cradle
- – 60 special attachment strips
- – cleaning pads
- – setup information
Setting it Up
– Connecting to a smartphone/tablet
You start by downloading the Upright Posture Trainer app (Android v4.3 and above, iOS 4 and above). The first time you use your Upright, the software will prompt you to connect to your Bluetooth phone/tablet. It is a simple three step process and will only have to be done once.
– Attaching the sensor unit
The sensor attaches to the user’s lower back with special adhesive strips. We thought that this might be a little tricky but our testers actually found it a breeze (check out the video below). The UpRight comes with 60 of the strips which is many more than you will need for a complete training programme. They have a medical grade non-allergenic adhesive on one side and a coating similar to Velcro on the other.
– Calibrating the system
Each time you put the Upright Posture Trainer on, it will naturally be in a slightly different position. To make sure that it gives you accurate feedback, you need to put in on, move into an upright posture, and press the calibrate button on your phone/tablet. Now you are ready to train.
The UpRight comes with simple, but accurate instructions on how to move into a healthy posture before starting a training session. They have just released a new app that has videos and expert advise about good posture, and overall on how to improve a sedentary lifestyle.
Putting the UpRight Posture Trainer to the Test
Stick the UpRight sensor to your lower back, move into a healthy seated posture, calibrate by tapping the app and let it do its job. Each time that you move out of the healthy posture, it gently vibrates against your back until you straighten up again. At the end of the training session you take it off. The training programme encourages you to hold the healthy posture for increasing periods of time. As you proceed, the biofeedback given by the sensor will retrain your body’s muscle memory so that the new posture becomes habitual. That is the theory!
So . . . did it work?
If you follow us this blog, you know that we rate all posture correctors on four main factors – effectiveness, durability, ease of use, and the price/value balance. This helps us maintain an objective response to the products we review. As usual in a longer term test, we asked our tester to keep notes each day as they used the product.
Effectiveness – using the supplied training guide, our tester found that the UpRight made a significant positive difference to their posture. The programme is based around progressively training your body to “remember” what a healthy posture is. You start with a pre-set 21 day programme that is run entirely by the software app.
Day 1 (5 minutes): Our tester commented that it felt a little ‘strange’ to have something stuck to their back but that the actual attachment and initial calibration was really easy. They also noted that they were getting lots of ‘buzzes’ as they kept slouching. This first session took a bit of concentration. They also recalibrated the sensor as it wasn’t quite right the first time.
Days 2 – 7 (increasing to 20 minutes per day): Our tester was really enthusiastic about the training and used the UpRight posture trainer each day in the first week. (UpRight protocols advise 4 – 5 sessions as being optimum per week.) They noted that they felt some significant tiredness in both their upper and lower back muscles. We see this as a normal part of their body adjusting itself to take on a new posture. They also needed to recalibrate occasionally as their first attempts sometimes left them in a weak posture. .
Days 8 – 21: Over the month, our tester progressively increased the length of training time they wore the UpRight for each session until they were typically using the sensor every second day for an hour. By they end of Day 15 they noted that their body felt more relaxed and the soreness from earlier had gone. A couple of times they forgot that they were wearing the sensor and only remembered when getting into the car to go to work! They also noted that their first calibration at the start of a training session was becoming much easier.
Post Day 21: 21 sessions was the planned length of our trial, and our tester decided to do a ‘maintenance’ session every couple of days after that to reinforce the positive improvements. (The UpRight training protocols say that you can extend sessions to around 1.5 hours after four weeks.)
Tester comments: “I can definitely see and feel a difference with my posture. When I first used the UpRight I was straight away very conscious of how I was sitting. Two months later it just feels natural to sit more upright.”
“One thing that surprised me was the way I now stand and walk too. We only trained with the UpRight when sitting down but it has made me improve my whole posture.”
“Probably the biggest thing to learn is how to get into a strong posture before starting a training session. I think you should watch some of the app videos before starting.”
“At the start, the sensor was buzzing if I even thought about slouching. I’m glad I knew that I could turn down the sensitivity because this could have been annoying otherwise.”
“People at work have commented that I look more confident! Others definitely want to borrow the UpRight so it has made a noticeable difference to me.”
Durability – the construction of the hardware is top quality. Even the packaging gave a quality impression. It comes with a 30 day money back guarantee, and a 1 year consumer warranty against manufacturing defects. We are confident that the hardware will prove durable over time. Software is another important factor in product durability and it is pleasing to see that the manufacturers are committed to ongoing firmware updates. (We suggest you immediately update the firmware when you received your UpRight sensor – this took around 30 minutes but is worth it to know that you have the latest functions installed.)
Ease of Use – as noted above, we were a little skeptical about how easy it would be to attach an UpRight to a user’s back, but in reality this proved to be a non-issue. We do note however, that if you suffer from restricted flexibility of your back/shoulders, it may be awkward to attach by yourself. We suggest an intending purchaser checks that they can reach their lower/mid back before committing, or at least have a partner who is willing to help.
Price / Value – at the current $129usd, an UpRight posture trainer is significantly more expensive than the competing Lumo Lift ($79.95usd). However, we felt that the extra cost was reasonable as the UpRight has positioned itself purely as a posture coach and uses two sensors to achieve a high level of accuracy. They even go so far as to offer a 30 day money back guarantee if a customer is not satified with the results (this is absolutely market leading). Also, to be fair, The Lift initially sold at a price point similar to where the UpRight is now, and only reduced in price once the product had been in the market for nearly a year.
- The software allows a user to plot their progress, watch postural improvement videos, and use the especially designed postural improvement training programmes. It is very simple to use. Our test version ran smoothly on an android phone (Samsung S5 running android 5.0.1).
- Potential issues that we wonder about . . .
- Recognising a healthy posture – to be effective, the UpRight Posture Trainer has to be calibrated while the user is sitting in a strong posture. The problem is that many users are going to be unsure exactly what a healthy posture looks and feels like. The UpRight Technologies team have obviously thought of this, and include a very clear short video guide. A new user absolutely needs to watch this material before starting training. On your connected phone go – Settings – Library. It is all there!
- Calibrating – it does take a little practice to hold your strong sitting posture while pressing the calibration button on the app. We suggest that you recalibrate straight away if not happy with your first attempt, it only takes 5 seconds and you’re ready to train.
- Spare adhesive strips – the manufacturer sells another 60 strips for $14.99usd – this is easily enough for two complete training programmes.
UpRight Technologies seem very committed to listening to their customers, and based on feedback, they have continually updated the software. A current enhancement about to be added is using games to increase people’s motivation to train. They have also started developing programmes specifically for health professionals to use with their clients – this shows their confidence in the effectiveness of their product.
They are working on an improved calibration algorithm that may allow the posture sensor to remember a user’s calibration data – a useful upgrade if technologically feasible.
The Team Behind the UpRight Sensor
The Israeli team behind the UpRight, UpRight Technologies, are led by experienced entrepreneur, Oden Cohen. Oden heads a small five person development team and brings a real passion to solving the growing worldwide problem of poor posture.
The whole PostureSorted website is devoted to this problem so we are onboard with Oden’s vision! It is interesting that some of the world’s most innovative tech solutions are coming out of Israel at the moment. As a nation, they seem to be ready and willing to “think outside the box” – just what we need to stem the tide of back pain and dysfunction.
Indiegogo – the UpRight team used the crowdsourcing platform, Indiegogo to raise the necessary funds to develop and launch their new product. In May 2014 they launched their campaign and reached their funding goal in a mere two months! In July 2015, the very first UpRights hit the market. The UpRight has now had time in the market to mature and is a solid product.
Why We Think You Need One
Simple – it is the best current technological solution to poor sitting posture. Excessive sitting is hugely impacting the health of entire portions of the world’s population. Humans aren’t designed to stay in fixed, static postures for large parts of the day – but that is exactly what many of us are doing. American statistics show that back pain is the leading cause of time off work in people under 45 years of age – and the rate is increasing.
There are certainly other solutions to poor sitting posture. For example, exercises, stretching, chair supports – each of these is part of a long term solution. However, there are only two hi tech options that can train your posture with minimal input – UpRight and Lumo Lift. We will do a head to head comparison in a future post. It is sufficient to say that they are quite different – the UpRight is a posture training system, the Lift is more like a reminder system.