A METHOD TO ALERT A PERSON TO THE NEED TO ASSUME A CORRECT BACK POSTURE POSITION DURING SITTING ON A SEAT
This invention relates to a method and an aid to alert a person to the neod to assume a correct back posture position during sitting on a seat and has particular, although not exclusive application to use with a seat at a computer workstation to alert a person to incorrect back posture.
Incorrect back posture of persons sitting on a seat are normally attributable to the person leaning forwardly and not sitting upright. In the context of this patent specification the term "correct back posture position" is meant to embrace substantially correct upright back positioning, and is meant to embrace a normal correct sitting position of a keyboard operator at a computer device.
Hitherto, devices such as lumbar supports have been provided which can be integrated with a backrest of a seat. Alternatively such lumbar supports can be provided as a retrofit support that can be fastened to a backrest of a seat. Such supports are useful but there has been no way of providing an alert to the person if the person should assume an incorrect back posture position such as by leaning forwardly so that the back is inclined from an upright correct back posture position and away from the support .
The present invention attempts to address this issue
Therefore, according to a first broad aspect of the present invention there is provided a method to alert a person to the need to assume a correct back position
during sitting on a seat comprising, providing a sensor responsive to pressure or contact, or presence of the person's back therewith at a position relative to the seat that will coincide with a correct back posture position of the person sitting on the seat, providing a signal consequent on the sensor sensing the absence of the person assuming a correct back posture position, and using the signal to alert the person to the need to assume a correct back posture position.
According to a further broad aspect of the present invention there is provided an aid for alerting a person to an incorrect back posture when seated on a seat, said aid comprising; a sensor responsive to pressure or contact or presence of a correct back posture of a person seated on the seat, said sensor being, in use, mountable at a correct back posture position relative to the seat, said sensor being in use, able to activate an alerting means consequent on the sensor sensing the absence of a person, assuming a correct back posture, and wherein said aid is provided with mounting means to permit said sensor to be mounted relative to said seat to sense correct back posture .
In order that the invention can be more clearly ascertained an example of a preferred embodiment of the invention applicable to use on a neat of a person working at a computer workstation will now be described wherein,
Figure 1 is a side elevational view diagrammatically showing a person sitting on a seat with a correct back posture and working at a computer
Figure 2 shows a perspective of one type of retrofit lumbar support that can be provided to the backrest of the seat,
Figure 3 is a transverse cross sectional view through the lumbar support shown in Figure 2 showing positioning of a sensor therein, and,
Figure 4 is a block schematic diagram showing electrical connections with the sensor and the computer workstation in another example,
Figure 5 is a block schematic electrical circuit diagram showing interconnection, of the sensor with a computer workstation in another example.
Whilst the preferred example is directed to use with a computer workstation, it should be appreciated that the invention is applicable to providing an alert in the event of a person sitting incorrectly on a seat and having an incorrect back posture. The invention is not to be limited to use solely with a seat at a computer workstation.
Referring firstly to Figure 1 it shows a person 1 correctly sitting on a seat at a computer workstation 5 and having a correct back posture. Here, the seat 1 has a backrest 7. A retrofit support 9, such as a lumbar support, is fixed to the backseat 7 by suitable fastening means such as straps that can be held taught by means of Velcro type releasable mounting means, or any other suitable mounting means. The function of the support 9 is to locate relative to the seat 3 so that when the person 1 is correctly sitting on the seat 3 in an upright position, the person's back will be in a correct back postυre
Figure 2 shows that the support 9 is generally elongate and has a flat back part 11 and a curved front face 13 that faces towards the person. The transverse cross sectional shape of the support 9 is generally "D" shaped. A pair of flexible straps 15 are fastened to ends 17 of the support 9 such as by stitching 19. The free ends of the straps 15 contain mounting means such as Velcro fasteners. In use, the support 9 is positioned at a correct height position relative to the seat 3 at the backrest 7. The straps 15 are then moved around the back of the backrest 7 and fastened together taught in order to retain the support 9 at a correct operational position. The support 9 can be fitted for lumbar support, or for shoulder support, or for merely making contact with the back of the person. This is diagrammaticalIy shown in Figure 1 in dotted lines.
Figure 3 shows a transverse cross sectional view of the support 9. The support 9 has an outer covering of a suitable material such as vinyl or cloth or other plastics sheet like material 21. There is an internal backing sheet 23 of a suitable rigid material such as plywood. A sensor 25 , such as a sensor switch, is mounted to the backing sheet 23 by mounting means such as by bolts or rivets 27 and positioned at generally centrally of the length of the lumbar support 9 and generally midway between tho top and bottom thereof . The sensor 25 has a forward protruding activation head 29. The head 29 is arranged for co-operation with a pressure transfer member 31 in the form of a sheet of semi rigid plastics material. This pressure transfer member 31 extends generally across the width of the Iumbar support 9. A soft foam rubber covering 33 is provided over the member 31 to provide for a soft feel against the person's back. Blocks 35 are provided below the sensor 25 and above the sensor 25 and
permit a resiliant compression of the lumbar support 9. The blocks 35 may be made from synthetic rubber material such as foam, or polystyrene, or may, in fact, comprise spring type members. The purpose is to ensure that the pressure transfer member 31 is moved away from the head 23 when the person's back is not engaging with the support 9 on the front face 13 thereof, , and to provide for a slight resistance to compressive deformation of the support when the person's back is in the correct back posture position whilst allowing the sensor 25 to operate. In thisa example, the sensor 25 is a micro switch. In other embodiments the sansor 25 may comprise other type switches or may comprise a proximity sensor to sense the proximity of the person's back relative to the front 13 of the lumbal support 9. In still further embodiments, the sensor 25 may be mounted on the outside face of the lumbar support 9 or on the outer face of the backrest 7 of the seat 3. In other embodiments, the sensor 25 may be incorporated within the backrest 7 of the seat 3.
Figure 4 shows a block circuit schematic diagram of an example of how the sensor 25 of the support 9 interfaces with an alert providing means . In this example, the alert providing means is remote from the lumbar support 13 and the pressure sensor 25. In some embodiments, the alert may be provided directly with the sensor 25 locally such as in the backrest of the chair, or within the support 9 and in other cases, as in this case, remotely. In Figure 4, an electrical circuit 35 is shown through which an electrical signal can be provided consequent on the sensor 25 sensing the absence of the person assuming a correct back posture. The electrical signal can then be provided to an alert providing means. In this embodiment, the electrical signal 35 is provided to an interface 37, and the interface 37 communicates with the computer workstation 5. The interface 37 may be in the electrical power leads that communicate with the
computer workstation 5 and act to interrupt supply of power to the computer workstation 5 thereby providing an alert to the person. In another embodiment, interface 37 may cause the computer workstation to act as the alerting means by one or more of alerts being provided as:
1. A visual display en a display screen or the computer workstation 5.
2. An audible sound or message to be initiated from the computer workstation 5 either directly therein or at some remote device connected therewith.
3. An interference to the normal operation of the computer workstation. This may occur by reason of displaying a message on the screen of the computer workstation that overlays any other screen display and requires the operator to assume a correct posture before the alert can be removed. Alternatively, it may interfere with operation of the actual display itself by turning off the display. It may also operate by interfering with operation of the keyboard, or mouse, such that in order for the computer to return to a normal operating condition, the user must assume a correct back posture.
Referring now to Fiqure 5, there is shown an alternative form of providing an interface between the sensor 25 and the computer workstation 5. In this case, a Bluetooth transmitter device 39 is associated with the sensor 25 locally therewith. The computer workstation 5 can have a Bluetooth device 41 fitted thereto. In this way, a wireless interface can bo provided between the sensor 25 and the computer workstation 5. A suitable application may be loaded on the computer workstation 5 to interface directly with the Bluetooth device 41 and to provide the necessary alert control.
In an alternative embodiment, the Bluetooth device 41 may be provided as a USB connection Bluetooth device to the computer workstation 5, and may be supplied as a kit with the sensor 25 and the Bluetooth transmitter 39.
In the case where there is a display message provided on the display screen of the computer workstation 5 to alert the person to incorrect posture, the wording thereof may be chosen to suit the environment. In some cases the application in the workstation 5, may provide different display for each subsequent incorrect back posture.
It should be appreciated that the inventive concepts herein can be employed in many different ways and in some cases there can be hard wiring between the sensor 25 and the alert providing means, or in other cases there can be a wireless connection as described in relation to Figure 5.
In one example the aid may be operated mechanically, and the sensor 25 can be a lever or member that operates with an alert providing means such as an audible sound producing device operatively connected with the sensor. In this case all the components of the aid can be housed together. Accordingly, in this case, the release of back pressure on the sensor 25 will cause the sensor to activate the alert providing means to mechanically provide an alert such as an audible sound, such as a bell or the like sound reproducing device.
These and other modifications may be made without departing from the ambit of the invention the nature of which shall be determined from the foregoing description.