When I was a kid, a concerned parent or teacher would prod me into pulling my shoulders back, but without their nudging I’ve slipped into old patterns. To help me straighten up, I turned to the Upright Go 2 – a discreet, wearable gadget that vibrates when you’re hunching.
Before you start
Before you get stuck into correcting years of bad posture, the Upright Go 2 needs setting up:
Download the Upright Go app, sync it with your phone via Bluetooth, then set up your profile.
Attach the device to your upper back with the patch supplied.* Anywhere on your upper back is OK as long as you can comfortably reach it.
Stand in front of mirror and make sure you’re not slouching, then calibrate your posture with the app.
Choose your mode. When you’re “training”, the Upright Go 2 vibrates to alert you whenever you slouch. In tracking mode, you won’t get the reminder but your posture will be recorded so you can compare your progress over time.
Getting set up
Downloading the app was simple enough, but I stumbled over setting up my profile. I was asked to rate my back pain (0/10 – no pain) and slouching (6/10), but the app wouldn’t allow me to input these numbers. In the end, I accepted the defaults (5/10), expecting I’d be able to change them later, but alas, I’d passed the point of no return.
A day after emailing the Upright support team for help, I got a reply: “I can suggest deleting the account and creating it again (which might take some time), or you can create a new account with another email address.”
Frankly, that was going to be too much effort, so I left things as they were. Not a good start.
How it works
After the app had guided me through the calibration process, I was ready to train. Over the next nine minutes (my “goal” for the day), vibrations rattled my ribcage. I even felt them in my throat.
The solution, of course, was to straighten up – no slouching would mean no buzzing. But the Upright Go 2 was so sensitive, even on the mildest settings, that I found it hard to focus on work. I moved my mouse and … zap! I reached for a file … zap! I opened a drawer … zap, zap, zap!
It’s a real shortcoming that the device can’t tell the difference between slouching and leaning forwards. As a result, on achieving my training goal for the day I’d switch to tracking mode. That stopped the annoying jolts but didn’t let me off the hook. Every now and then, my phone would ping to say I’d been slouching for 15 minutes. Seriously? Some movement had more than likely been logged as slouching, so “15 minutes” was a bit of stretch.
Like other apps, the UpRight Go 2 app is constantly gathering information about you – who you are, your age, weight, the area where you live, how much time you spend sitting each day, and so on. It shares this information with third parties, including Firebase by Google, Apple Health, MailChimp and Facebook Ads. These companies are used to process your data so Upright can “help you use [its] products and services in a better way”. That includes sending you ads. If you don’t want your data used in this way you can opt out, but then the company won’t provide you with any services. See our health apps article for more about how your data can be used when you download an app.
The advertising had promised an improvement in two weeks but 14 days later the data showed I was still slouching. Using the app had made me more aware of my posture, but it had also left me sore.
The Upright team said the twinges were a result of my muscles being exercised as I self-corrected and that as my back grew stronger the aching would go away.
I can’t comment on that as, lacking a spine for hard labour, I threw in the towel after just three weeks.
*Ten reusable adhesive patches are supplied. They’re comfortable, adhere well and don’t leave residue on skin. Each patch should last a week or two, depending on your skin type and activities. When you run out, you can buy a pack of 10 for about $17.
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