Could this wearable AI camera improve your posture?

BodyTrak SciFi Labs
(Image credit: BodyTrak - SciFi Labs)

Imagine wearing a watch that could tell you if you’re sitting or standing incorrectly. Now imagine a wrist-mounted AI camera that could tell you how to correct your posture. Would you use it?

Scientists at SciFi Lab have come up with a clever wearable device that could help to monitor posture and enables users to track their body movements. As we get older, we start noticing more aches and pains; sometimes they can come from over-exerting yourself in exercise but other times muscle tension can be caused simply by poor sitting and standing habits which are easily changed. 

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BodyTrak is a brand new intelligent sensing technology from SciFi Labs that uses deep learning AI to estimate the body’s 3D position. Using just one RGB camera, BodyTrak is able to capture the body's silhouette and discern the position of the muscles and joints not in the picture by using deep neural AI - a form of AI that imitates the human brain in how it collects knowledge. 

Cheng Zhang, the assistant professor of information science and the paper's senior author hopes that in time, BodyTrak could be integrated into people’s smartwatches and be used to monitor body mechanics in physical activities where precision is critical such as weight lifting, running or even sitting at a desk. However, one of the challenges in rolling out this technology into existing smartwatches is that the batteries in them are not powerful enough to power a full-body sensor.

Research shows that this technology will work even when the camera cannot capture the entire body. Instead, it uses the information it can capture and AI technology to reconstruct the entire body in real-time. 

Details of these findings have been published in the Proceedings of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) on Interactive, Mobile, Wearable and Ubiquitous Technology which was showcased at UbiComp 2022. Although there is no way of knowing when we might see this sort of technology in consumer devices, it’s encouraging to see cameras and AI technology being developed to combat conditions that can become debilitating. 

SciFi Labs has already developed similar deep-learning wearable devices that can be used to track hand movements, facial movement and even silent speech recognition but this is the first time a device has been designed to monitor posture. 

Of course, even if this device starts to be integrated with smartwatches it’s still up to the user to take action and change their body position accordingly. If successful though, this could transform the way we work in offices, the way we exercise or even the way we walk, and regardless of where you stand on AI, developments like this are becoming the future. 

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Hannah Rooke
Staff Writer

Having studied Journalism and Public Relations at the University of the West of England Hannah developed a love for photography through a module on photojournalism. She specializes in Portrait, Fashion and lifestyle photography but has more recently branched out in the world of stylized product photography. For the last 3 years Hannah has worked at Wex Photo Video as a Senior Sales Assistant using her experience and knowledge of cameras to help people buy the equipment that is right for them. With 5 years experience working with studio lighting, Hannah has run many successful workshops teaching people how to use different lighting setups.