Spending endless hours each day sitting in front of the computer, at work or at home, comes with a price: posture problems, or what is known as the “computer hunch”. No matter what excercises you do, if you don’t remember to sit upright, it’s hard to see a real improvement.

The posture monitoring feature is one of the initial reasons for deciding to develop Logtale of Habits. While there were some attempts to build a webcam-based posture tracker, none is as feature rich as ours.

What the Posture module currently does

  • Get notifications like “Remember to sit upright” and “You’re doing well”.
  • Visualise charts with your current posture, and your posture history.
  • No calibration is needed.
  • Privacy first: everything is processed and stored locally, on your own computer.

How it works

The posture evaluation algorithm works by whatching your up and down movements and guessing when you can do better. The app first watches you for 1-2 minutes, and then for each frame evaulates your posture quality as either good or bad. If you move the position of your webcam, the app will detect this and start again this initialization process.

Everything is based on the vertical position of your face relative to camera coordinates. During the initialization period the app computes a best, worst, and comfort position. These reference positions will be updated with each captured image, and are also graphically rendered. For each frame, the posture quality is evaluated using these reference values. This is a rough overview of how our algorithm works, as there are a lot of details we needed to tweek in order to make it work.

Assumptions made

  • You’re computer sits on a desk or a table.
  • The webcam is placed on top of the monitor or integrated into a monitor (notebooks/laptops).
  • The top of the monitor is at about the eye level.

Limitations

  • It works better when you have a tendency to slouch, because then it can detect that you can do better.
  • It’s not 100% accurate, but it’s good enough and really usefull if you need posture reminders.

Sounds interesting? You can download the Windows app right now, use it 2 weeks for free, and see if it fits your needs. We would love to hear any opinion, question, or improvement sugestion, as we just made the project open for the public. Thank you!

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