Since I’m someonewhat of a wearables skeptic, you may be surprised to learn that I’ve acquired my second piece of wearable tech (third if you want to count my smartphone). Way back in January I pre-bought a Lift device from a company called Lumo. They already had one product on the market, Lumo Back, that looked a bit like a belt that you wore around your torso to correct your posture. The Lift is an evolution of that original product. It’s significantly smaller and is worn on your clothing near your collar bone. This product targets your posture in a slightly different way than the Lumo Back, so technically you could have both, but I’m not sure anyone would want to do that.
Lumo Lift monitors your posture. You calibrate it by pressing the device. Users have the option of simply monitoring their posture, or using Lift as a coach. In coach mode the device gently vibrates whenever you slouch. You can also set up a timed coaching session with your smartphone. Times start at 5 minutes, which seems fairly easy, but 15 minute sessions are currently kicking my butt, so I shouldn’t brag too much.
The Lumo company also claims the Lift is an activitiy tracker, but I’m not impressed with this feature. I have a Fitbit, but even a basic pedometer seems to do a better job than the Lift. I didn’t buy it for this feature, so I’m not upset about the poor functionality.
The device is pretty small, but still shows a bump under clothing. You are advised to only wear it with fitted clothing, so there’s not much way around this. I prefer my devices to be discrete (I wear my Fitbit clipped into the center of my bra), but the bulge isn’t enough to stop me from wearing it. I haven’t gotten any odd looks or questions in the week I’ve been wearing it, but it definitely made me think about my friends with diabetes who wear equipment. Lumo added a “clip” that allows you to attach the device to your bra strap. This is my preferred way to wear the Lift, so I was pretty unhappy when the magnet came unglued from the clip within a few days. I guess it’s not so easy to glue a magnet to smooth plastic. I contacted the company and had a replacement in the mail a few days later.
Which brings me to my least favorite thing about the Lift. I’m really afraid of losing it. It is attached to your top with strong magnets. I might be dating myself, but I still remember losing a set of magnetic earrings as a kid. The earring were probably $10. The Lumo Lift currently costs $99.99. (I got mine at a significant discount when I preordered.) I’m afraid of it falling off – being knocked off my a purse or backpack strap and disappearing into the Metro system. I’ve developed a slight tick of constantly touching my collarbone to ensure the device is still there. I would prefer a more secure option to attach the Lift to my clothing.
My other complaint about the product isn’t about the device, but about the development process and lack of communication. I got a lot of updates from Lumo about the status of the device. Unfortunately they ended up containing a lot of wrong information. The ship date kept getting pushed back. Lumo went out of their way to send me marketing emails asking me to spread the word and tell my friends to order their own Lift. But I didn’t feel comfortable asking people to buy this device that I was beginning to doubt would ever arrive. The company would stretch the truth; as one point saying that September was technically still “summer” and therefore fell under their stated roll out dates. Crowdfunding a product can be a long process, but I would be a lot happier with the process if I got more accurate updates and less marketing.
I finally got mine. I emailed the company and told them I had really hoped to be able to wear the device to Medicine X. They shipped it out the same day. My friend who pre-ordered around the same time got hers yesterday. Tech reviewers have had devices (free, I assume) for several weeks.
It’s too soon to see if the Lift has improved my posture, but I like it so far. Why did I shell out for a shiny gadget? Well I have terrible posture and bad back pain. For the cost of one massage or a few visits to a chiropractor, I can buy a Lift and hopefully solve the cause of the pain, rather than treat the symptoms. This is an example of wearable tech that can actually solve a problem I have, and the pre-order price was reasonable.