Introducing UPRIGHT: The Chrome Extension That Teaches You How to Sit

Original article was published by Athena Thai on Artificial Intelligence on Medium

Introducing UPRIGHT: The Chrome Extension That Teaches You How to Sit

You’re sitting wrong. Yes, you. Right now. I guarantee that your posture right now is horrible. And you might not care, but you really should.

Back pain due to bad posture is the single biggest leading cause of disability worldwide. Worse, poor posture can increase your risk of death by 44%. That’s right; sitting improperly is literally killing you.

And if that’s not enough to be concerned, from an economic standpoint, back pain costs Americans $50 billion in healthcare costs each year. Add that on to lost wages and decreased productivity from time spent at the doctor and recovering, and that’s $100 billion lost each year due to back pain.

Sounds bad, doesn’t it? You’re right! It is bad. But what if there was a way to solve that problem, besides having a family member yelling at you and yanking your shoulders back every five minutes? What if your computer was able to better your posture every time you sat down?

Say Hello to UPRIGHT!

UPRIGHT is a free Chrome extension that uses artificial intelligence to locate key points on your silhouette to help your posture! You can customize the extension to be activated during Zoom calls, when you’re doing your own work, or even when you’re just watching youtube. You can change the settings to your level of comfort.

When UPRIGHT is activated and sees an issue in your posture, it will notify you with specific directions to fix the way you sit. As you adjust your position, it will play a satisfying sound to let you know you’ve corrected your posture.

Some additional features:

  • Streaks!! UPRIGHT’s streaks will be measured in the number of days that you’ve activated the extension. This way, you can set reasonable, attainable, and measurable goals for yourself each month.
  • Periodic reminders to get up, walk around, or take a stretch! These reminders will be set at a default of every 30 minutes, as recommended by most professionals, but can also be customized to fit your schedule. You can also set them for certain times in the day.
  • Progress stats! These will show you your sitting and posture history, so you can see how you’ve improved over time. It’ll also tell you which areas of the posture you need to work on the most so that you can pay extra attention to those spots.

Necessity of Artificial Intelligence in UPRIGHT

The biggest role that AI has in UPRIGHT is to identify the parts of your body and compare it to descriptions of good posture (relaxed shoulders, open chest, no “text neck”, straight spine) to give you helpful and specific feedback.

AI is there to help you! You obviously can’t have a healthcare professional or even a friend or a family member staring at you while you work the whole day, telling you to square your shoulders or to stop hunching over.

People also have different body proportions, so making a general code wouldn’t work to help the entire population. UPRIGHT’s AI will identify how good posture looks on different people to offer the most specific improvements for you to make.

It’s like having a personalized free chiro practitioner, anytime you want for as long as you want, to better your health and productivity.

How it Works

UPRIGHT uses pose estimation. At a high level, pose estimation happens in two phases:

  1. An input RGB image that is taken every 10 minutes is fed through a convolutional neural network.
  2. A single-person decoding algorithm is used to decode poses, pose confidence scores, keypoint positions, and keypoint confidence scores from the model outputs.

A keypoint is a part of a person’s pose that is estimated, such as the nose, right ear, left knee, right foot, etc. It contains both a position (2D x and y coordinates in the original input image where a keypoint has been detected) and a keypoint confidence score, which determines the confidence that an estimated keypoint position is accurate. It ranges between 0.0 and 1.0 and can be used to hide key points that are not deemed strong enough. UPRIGHT will detect 17 key points as illustrated in the following diagram:

The single person-detection system uses information from keypoint position and confidence scores that are obtained through the convolutional neural network to create a heatmap as depicted above.

Long-Term Benefits

The long term benefits of UPRIGHT are extreme. Besides feeling better and being more productive, it will have a huge impact on your health.

UPRIGHT can help you to:

  • Improve core strength — that’s right; sitting properly is a way for you to get those abs you’ve been convincing yourself you would get since 3 years ago.
  • Make you appear taller and more confident — no more of those sketchy Pinterest diets and home remedies that never work; with UPRIGHT, you and your self-esteem levels will literally grow.
  • Lower your stress levels — the position you sit in affects the way you breathe. Sitting in bad posture will cause added strain to your heart forcing it to pump faster, causing a quite stressful experience.
  • Improve your “attractiveness” — studies have shown that having good posture is one of the most attractive features that people notice!

Improve your long term health — good posture is linked to greater lung capacity, increased circulation, easier digestion, and fewer headaches and hip strain. Basically, all those aches and joint-cracking that you’ve heard an adult over the age of 30 complain about, UPRIGHT can solve.

Key Takeaways

  1. Having bad posture is detrimental to your health and productivity.
  2. UPRIGHT is a personalized, free Google Chrome extension that gives you specific feedback to notify you of changes to make in your posture and is completely customizable to your preference.
  3. UPRIGHT uses AI to identify your silhouette and areas for improvement. It’s like having a chiro practitioner tailored to your needs and health goals.

For more information, you can click here to watch a 5-minute video explaining what UPRIGHT does and how it does it.

*Note: This article was a group collaboration including Saya Kim-Suzuki, Jeffrey Huynh, Tasha Pais, Leandro Torres, and Jacqueline Shih