Welcome to our Incentive Chair, the one and only device that will track down your posture and give you real time feedback, as well as a vibrating massage and M&M's to reward you for working hard and keeping a great posture. From servos to pressure sensors to laser cut acrylic, this chair incorporates everything you need to maintain a good posture while studying and working hard for your Penn classes. The Incentive Chair 6900 also incorporates an Internet of Things element by uploading information on your good or bad posture to ThingSpeak.
The sitting experience needs to be improved! We need to have healthier and more productive lifestyles as students. Penn students spend hours and hours sitting down working, yet they tend to have bad posture, curving in when using their laptops or phones. This is terrible for your health and doesn't just result in increased back pain, but it also increases the risk of back problems as you grow up. Therefore, we wanted to create something that would reward you for working hard while also taking care of the bad posture problem exhibited by students.
What it does
The Incentive Chair 6900 collects data on your posture using four pressure sensors located strategically throughout the chair. It can notice when you're sliding or when you're bending forward while working. It uploads a boolean into ThingSpeak, which can either be a 1 for good posture or 0 for bad posture. In addition, there is an LCD display attached which provides live feedback on your posture, giving you tips on how to improve it and motivating you if your posture is good. It also includes a vibrating massage mechanism which gets activated by a button on the right arm rest, which is great to relax after a long working session. Finally, to reward you for hard work and good posture, it includes an M&M dispenser, because, who doesn't love M&M's!?
How we built it & challenges encountered
The first thing we attempted was building the M&M dispenser. We started off using a box and a servo to figure out the dispensing mechanism. Then, we upgraded our design to a bottle which could hold the M&Ms, using a paper clip attached to the servo. However, this mechanism was too fragile and vulnerable, so we ended up making the dispenser by laser cutting an acrylic board, and we used two servos to prevent M&M's from sliding down the side. We attached the pressure sensors and the vibrating motors using duct tape. The pressure sensors are variable resistors, therefore they are connected to the breadboard in series with resistors to retrieve accurate measurements from the sensors.
Our main challenge was building the M&M dispenser, as we had to constantly change our mechanisms for dispensing the M&Ms. In addition, we had to learn how to laser cut at the RPL, which proved to be challenging as well.
Marketability (of specific aspects)
We believe this chair has several aspects that could be marketed in the industry. Having a chair that tracks down posture and gives you instant feedback could prove to be very useful, especially in a world where more and more people stay sitting down curving in towards their computers or phones. In addition, the M&M dispenser and the vibrating massage are good incentives and rewards for posture correction as well as hard work. Your back deserves the best. And that's exactly what we're trying to develop. The best chair out there in the market that will help you with your posture and incentivize you to improve it!
What's next for Incentive Chair
There are several things that could still be improved in future models of the chair. For example, currently this chair drains too much power, and therefore cannot power the LCD screen and servos and vibrating motors all at once. Due to this, we had to use two battery packs to power the chair. In addition, the pressure sensors can detect posture correctly for some people but not for others, which is also a limitation. Finally, it would also be better to cut down the amount of wires needed to get everything to work through the use of a PCB or similar technology.
Appendix (code, specific graphics)
Debouncing Button code - Arduino official website