Mar 25, 201208:00 AMPoint of View
Lab Report XXIV
Posture suspenders, image via code.arc.cmu.eduTake, for example, the Posture Suspenders. Okay, it’s true, not a lot of men under 50 wear suspenders these days, especially if they are partial to baggy pants. And the suspenders do look rather ordinary, don’t they? But here’s the thing. These aren’t just any old suspenders; they are made to correct poor posture. Toward that end, the stretchy device has two layers of stretchable fabric. The inner layer is conductive and is embedded with a vibrator that gives the wearer feedback. When your posture is bad, the second layer registers that fact and using small electronics, alerts you to straighten up. Pretty neat, and given the right outfit, this device could start a new fashion trend. Another invention aims to correct Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS). Named “Go-away-CTS Wristband,” it’s based on similar principles as the Posture Suspenders; no surprise since they were both developed by the same person. This device also uses the feedback principle, attained through a series of lights and vibrations powered by a micro-battery pack, to help sufferers of CTS. If you work at a computer station for long hours—and what architect or architecture student doesn’t?—then this is probably something you’ll appreciate. As the author notes, passive CTS bands don’t really work because all they do is limit the wearer’s range of motion. They don’t actually alert wearers to the wrist positioning that causes the problem. This device, in effect, retrains the wearer to exercise better wrist posture, as the Posture Suspenders do for one’s back. And if you click on the link, you’ll see that the device is no bigger than a regular, passive, CTS band. It’s just better. It’s becoming clear that today’s architecture school is not just for teaching people how to design buildings, but learning the needs of the people inside. Sherin Wing writes on social issues as well as topics in architecture, urbanism, and design. She is a frequent contributor to Archinect, Architect Magazine and other publications. She is also co-author of The Real Architect’s Handbook. She received her PhD from UCLA. Follow Sherin on Twitter at @xiaying For Previous Lab Reports follow this link.