The Arki coaches you by gently vibrating whenever it detects that you are adopting a poor walking posture
Back when I was training to be an officer in the Singapore Armed Forces, we were reminded over and over that our posture – back straight, chest puffed out, head held high – is one of the key factors that distinguish men of our rank. Not to appear arrogant, mind you, but to look poised and confident.
“Remembering good walking posture is hard and we just simply forget […] it is the leading cause of back pains, neck pains, and knee pains,” says Henry Lee, head designer at Zikto. “An average person walks about 8,000-10,000 steps a day, and it adds up to about 115,000 miles in your life time.” According to Zikto, 80 percent of people walk with incorrect posture.
The Arki coaches you by gently vibrating whenever it detects that you are adopting a poor walking posture – but this is subject to your own needs. “Arki doesn’t vibrate all the time whenever you have bad walking postures,” Lee says. “You are able to customize your haptic feedback level according to your needs.”
Your walking coach
According to a report by Harvard Medical School, these are the four things that the wearable will train you to do – and will chide you for whenever it senses that you’re misbehaving:
- Look ahead. Train your sights 10 to 20 feet ahead of you. If you need to check the ground to avoid obstacles, lower your eyes, not your head.
- Stretch your spine. Your shoulders should be level and square. Tuck your buttocks in.
- Bend your arms. Flex your elbows at close to 90-degree angles and let your arms swing at waist level.
- Take measured steps. Too long a stride throws you off balance. Concentrate on taking shorter steps, but more of them.
How exactly will the Arki detect these? What it does is to use a series of measurements – such as the swing speed of your arms and transferred vibration from your feet – to determine whether you are committing cardinal posture sins like looking at your smartphone while walking.According to Surgical Technology International, the act exerts about 27 kilograms of pressure on your back and neck.
The device also comes with a companion app that will track your progress, giving you points according to the amount of “Sound Walking” you have done.
Track your progress, and make sure you’re walking well
In addition, if you regularly switch the Arki from arm to arm, it can also tell you which part of your body is imbalanced, and provide a personalized workout recommendation by fitness professionals and physical therapists so as to get your body balance back.
Here’s the coolest part: you can use the wearable to unlock your computer or smartphone, simply by waving it around. Your device will be unlocked regardless of the pattern you’ve moved the Arki in because it uses biometric authentication – based on your unique walking pattern – to do so.
Of course, like any other wearable, the Arki also has basic functions such as a pedometer and sleep tracking. It also has a disappearing LED readout that, when touched, will display time, temperature, steps taken, and the user’s “walking score.” A single battery charge will last about five days, thanks to the Bluetooth Low Energy that it uses to connect to a smartphone.
So far, it seems like many people see the need to improve their posture. With 26 days left to go, the Arki’s Kickstarter campaign has shot past its goal of US$100,000, and is at $104,216 as of November 25. Its early bird special of US$79 has sold out, but you can snag one at US$99 now.
Arki’s success on Kickstarter isn’t just about having a good idea and getting lucky, though. First of all, they launched the campaign with a working prototype in hand, not just proof of concept. After they finished that prototype, Zikto sent an entire team to the US to coordinate with Kickstarter and make the rounds on American tech media.
This post was originally published in Tech In Asia