To Lift or Not To Lift

a product review of the Lumo Lift

Dunwin Drive is about more than traditional ergonomic fixes to reach a healthy way of living and working. Technological advances mean that there are more products available than ever before to help you sit up straight, be comfortable in the office and live a healthy lifestyle. There is more than one path towards ergonomic bliss, and if we use all resources available to us in the best possible way, we can reach that goal effortless.

Nova-Link’s little blog, named Dunwin Drive in commemoration of the road on which its first factories were situated, has a mission to discuss the company’s solutions to project needs, including ergonomic features available from us as well as from third party products to help users achieve a comfortable day at the office.

In this article we are reviewing the “as seen on TV” product called Lumo Lift. We have all seen the pictures of young girls walking around balancing books on their heads. They make most people laugh these days, but back in the fifties, parents would often send their children to deportment class to teach them good etiquette and perfect posture. Once the sixties came around though, classes like that were considered elitist and snobbish. By the time I was born, most people didn’t even know what the term deportment meant anymore, hence why I usually sit and walk around with hunched shoulders.

I love ballet, and I always marvel at a ballerina’s ramrod straight back. I try to keep that image in mind as I start my day at the office: I straighten my back, sit down at my desk, place my keyboard and mouse at a good angle…and suddenly an hour has passed and I look like a limp bag of potatoes again. I think everyone will admit that sitting up straight takes a lot of effort; and while I am not experiencing any negative effects from this behavior at the moment, who knows what will happen twenty years down the line?

Why then does it seem to come effortless to ballet dancers? They remember all the steps to a ballet through muscle memory; repeat a movement often enough and it will become automatic. While it may take up to sixty days to change a behavior, if you repeat the behavior often enough it will happen. This is the concept behind the Lumo Lift: be reminded often enough to walk and sit up straight, and in just a few weeks you will be doing just that automatically.

The Lumo Lift is a posture coach, a gadget that promises to make you ‘Sit Straighter, Stand Taller, Look Better.’ It is the modern-day version of the posture corrector back brace which looks like a torture device from the Middle Ages. While the brace might be helpful when wearing it, it will not change your behavior. The Lumo Lift does promise a change in your behavior and sitting up straight will become natural to you in just a few weeks. Ninety-Nine dollars seems like a very good price to look better; or is it?

Upon first opening the box, the Lumo Lift seems pretty straightforward to use. The device itself is only about the size of a small USB stick, and it attaches to the inside of your top with a magnet. Once you pair the Lumo Lift with the app (available for IOS and Android) and register your perfect posture, you are set to continue your day as you normally would. The Lumo Lift is so small you won’t notice you are wearing it, and neither will anyone else if you wear a blazer, sweater or jacket. If you don’t, you might get the occasional question about the square, silver magnet just below your collarbone.

It is always a good start when an app and a gadget connect seamlessly, and the Lumo Lift did not fail in that regard. It connected to my phone straight away through Bluetooth and my (ideal) perfect posture was set with a push and brief hold on the device, and confirmed with a small buzz. It is also this buzz that will alert you throughout the day when you lose your perfect posture after 3, 10 or 15 seconds (you can set the amount of time that you may slouch or bend over to tie your shoelace or pick something up before it reminds you that you’re not standing up straight). The buzz is light enough that no one else will hear it in a loud setting, but loud enough that the person at the next desk over from you would hear. It feels like a small tickle, a gentle reminder for you to sit up straight again.

As I started my day I quickly realized not much was happening. On several occasions, I was fully aware that I had lost my perfect posture, yet the Lumo Lift remained quiet. When I looked at the app I noticed it was not registering anything. As I found out later from my colleague who had given me the Lumo Lift to test (after she had tried it herself and found it too irritating), she had set the time lag to 10 seconds. The time lag was not automatically reset to 3 seconds even after she wiped the unit for me.

One of the problems I find with the app is that it tries to be too many things. I like that it allows you to set a goal in terms of how long you wish to sit up straight throughout the day, but on top of that, the Lumo Lift also serves as a pedometer. The app should stick to its core function and do that well; we already have enough gadgets on us that track our steps. Focusing on just one area might also help with the battery life, not only for my IPhone but also for the Lumo Lift; I had to charge it three times throughout the week! Also, it does not come with an off switch. When I remove it and put it down, it suddenly remembers that it’s out of position and will start buzzing. It will only quiet down when it is placed back in its charging station, or when the battery dies.

Yet I was not ready to give up yet, especially after reading how happy other people were with the Lumo Lift. I tried resetting my perfect posture but that made no difference, even though I’m sure now that I tested it out while lounging on the couch in horrible posture for longer than 10 seconds. I tried attaching it to tighter fitting clothes, but that made no difference either. The most I got out of the Lumo Lift was five minutes of registered perfect posture, and a few minutes of buzzing to alert me to my lack of it. For a device this small that is meant to be forgotten throughout the day, I had spent an awful lot of time planning and adjusting to try and make it work.

I am a pretty tenacious person, but I need to see progress at some point. After trying for several days, I saw no improvement in how the Lumo Lift was performing and I regarded it as just an ugly piece of jewelry. Funny enough, the Lumo Lift had the most impact when I stopped wearing it. Since removing it, I have been thinking about my posture so much more that I have become conscious of my behavior on my own; I would just remind myself throughout the day to sit up straight. Was $99 a good price to develop a posture conscience? I don’t think so, and would love to hear feedback from other Lumo Lift users at the end of this post.

Great things often come in small packages, but that is not the case with the Lumo Lift for me. I’m off to watch some ballet to further inspire a beautiful personal deportment.

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