Imagine telling someone half a century ago that, here in 2018, our watches would order us to get up out of our chairs, we would have always-listening smart speakers in our homes, and a data-collecting tech giant would probably know more about you than your immediate family. Nineteen Eighty-Four-style dystopia? Jetsons-style utopia? Whatever it is, it’s happening! The latest example of this is a new Alexa-connected gadget recently launched on Kickstarter, taking the form of a miniature robot and connected smart mat that will nag you to stand up straight — even in the comfort of your own home.
Called Giiro Bot (the associated mat’s referred to as the Giiro Mat), it looks a bit like a cute Minion from Despicable Me, but is, in fact, a pretty nifty posture coach that will warn you whenever you begin standing in a way it deems to be less than optimal.
“The Giiro Mat uses more than 600 sensors that can detect 256 levels of pressure to draw a hyper-accurate map of how you stand,” GazeLab CEO Juyoun Lee told Digital Trends. “It tracks your posture over time, provides alerts, shows weight distribution in real time, and makes recommendations on ways to improve your posture. The Giiro Bot is a personal posture robot, paired with Giiro Mat. It sits on a desk and mimics your posture, while you work. It provides feedback with nine different facial expressions, by moving its legs, and leaning in the same direction as you do.”
The company behind Giiro previously launched the Gaze Desk, a smart Internet of Things standing desk, which raised more than $150,000 on Kickstarter. Now its makers want to go further because, as it turns out, even owning a standing desk is no guarantee that you’re standing correctly. Whether you lean forward to focus on your computer monitor, or twist your legs in a way that can damage your backbone, Giiro is there and ready to pick you up on your bad habits.
The results are a bit like what would happen if 2001: A Space Odyssey’s HAL 9000 moved to California, got hooked on yoga and core fitness, and decided its new mission in life was to harangue its friends into leading healthier lives.
As ever, we offer our usual warnings about the inherent risk in crowdfunding campaigns. (Although, as noted, the team has successfully delivered a product before.) However, if you’re interested and want to get involved, head over to the team’s Kickstarter page. Both the mat and robot are available separately, although if you want to get the pair prices start at $199. Shipping is set to take place in March 2019.