Sound designers, web designers, programmers, writers, googlers, and youtubers sit for hours on end by a computer. As a result, most of us suffer from bad posture!
After getting really fed up with my bad posture, I thought I would write some software to remind me to sit up straight. My application Posture Man Pat started as a joke but actually turned into something really useful, so I thought I’d share it with you.
how does it work?
Very simple, it uses your webcam to track your face on the Y-axis of your screen. If your face drops a certain amount, then it triggers a warning. This software was built in Max/MSP/Jitter. And again, sorry Windows users but it’s a Mac-only software. If there is lots of interest, I will see if I can get someone to compile it for Windows.
1. Make sure your camera is switched on, you should be able to see yourself in the yellow screen at the bottom.
2. If you can’t, then press [cam settings] to change the input.
3. If you are using an external camera, make sure it is facing you.
4. Make sure there is enough light on your face.
5. Get yourself into a good posture.
6. Press spacebar or the big yellow button.
7. If you adjust camera position, make sure to press space bar again.
2. The [test] button allows you to test the warning bell and/or flash.
3. With the radio buttons, you can choose whether you want the warning to consist of just a sound, a flash, or both. You can also choose to have it all together off.
4. If you’re having audio issues or it is interfering with other programs, go to settings > audio settings and choose the right settings from there.
The warning sound and/or flash only triggers once per bad posture. If you stay in your bad posture it will not go off again. However, once you correct your posture, Posture Man Pat will arm itself again and be ready to warn you.
Huge thanks to Jean-Marc Pelletier for his incredible work on the cv.jit objects for Max/MSP. Also, thanks to Masayuki Akamatsu for building the aka.objects that allows Max/MSP to interface with the Mac.
Please let me know if there are problems. Considering how different each system is, I can’t test everything. I would love to hear some feedback. For instance, on my machine, the Google camera for my G-chat takes over my webcam, so I have to reset it every now and then. I have also kept the settings to a minimum to avoid complicating things, if you think I should allow for more tracking options, please post a comment.