Poor posture has been a large part of my Parkinson's experience. In fact, I've had poor posture since childhood, but it's got a lot worse since I was diagnosed with PD 12 years ago. Levodopa helps a bit. Also, I've had physiotherapy and done Tai Chi. However, for me at least, they made little difference. So, I've been looking at technological solutions to the problem. Several commercial products exist, but I thought that I'd try a DIY approach.
You may be interested in a prototype Android app that I've written. "Lean" uses an Android smartphone to measure poor posture. It is available free at:
A typical session works like this:
1. You open the app in Chrome.
2. You press START.
3. You have 20 seconds to get ready.
4. You stand or sit with good posture for 10 seconds in order to get a baseline.
5. The phone measures the angle of your lean many times per second.
6. If your lean continuously exceeds 10 degrees for more than 5 seconds, the app fires the phone's vibrator.
7. You adjust your posture to stop the vibrator.
There are four main limitations:
- it requires a smartphone with an accelerometer;
- it has only been tested on Chrome on Android;
- it's most accurate when the phone is put on top of your head under a tight fitting ski hat to keep it in place.
- it requires that you stay on-line.
- as a way to conserve energy, most phones will power off after a few seconds of sitting idle. You need to switch this feature off (details on the web page). In consequence battery life is limited.
Please note that detecting poor posture is not the same as correcting poor posture. I make no claims that using this app leads to long-term improvements. I advise that anyone thinking of using it seeks medical advice as to whether this approach is appropriate to them.
I'll be grateful for any comments.