Friday, April 8, 2016

Darma smart cushion teaches good posture, fights back pain


 Gizmo Review

My mother is no longer around to correct my bad posture, but I may have found a digital substitute. After a few minutes of leaning back in my desk chair or hunching over my keyboard, I feel a vibration in my midsection. It’s not my phone vibrating, it’s Darma telling me to sit up straight by delivering a literal kick in the butt.

You know those apps and devices that periodically tell you to stand up, walk around or stretch you limbs? Darma does that working with a smart seat cushion and a companion app. The cushion and app know when your posture is bad and when you’ve been sitting too long and it lets you know with a notification on your phone and buzz on your backside.

The sample cushion that Darma sent me arrived in a well-padded box that contained the cushion, a charging cable and a travel bag. The cushion has a soft ventilated leader surface with a power button and USB socket guilty into one side.

I connected the USB cable to charge the cushion while I downloaded and installed the Darma app from the iTunes App Store. Darma also has app for Androids in the Google Play store. I created a personal account with the Darma app and used Bluetooth to link the app to the cushion. That was as easy as adding a wireless speaker or headphones.

The Darma cushion is designed to work with weights between 90 and 260 pounds. The battery is supposed to last about 15 days - that was consistent with my experience - and it shuts off if you don't use it for three days. A lighted ring around the power button notes when the cushion is battery is low and when the device is connected or disconnected to the Darma app.

Once the app and cushion were talking to each other, the Darma system began tracking my sitting experience. It knows when I lean left or right, forward or backward, and when I stand up. Fiber-optic sensors embedded in the cushion also track my heart rate and breathing and use the metrics to determine my current level of stress.

Notifications are delivered through the app or by vibrations in the cushion. Darma does not appear to have a specific appear the Apple Watch or other smart watches, which would be a welcome addition to the Darma program.

Darma also acts as a as a coach. The app delivers posture advice, reminders to stand up tailored stretching and breathing exercises based on my personal behavior and habits.

During the setup phase, I told Darma I wanted help with occasional lower back pain. Now, as I write this, Darma says “Stand up for 1 minute now will help help relieve your pain later.”

That back pain is the main reason I wanted to test the Darma cushion and so far, I think it’s helping. And, I think Mom would be pleased.

The Darma cushion is expected to have a list price of $199 when it is officially launched. The company is currently accepting advance orders at $179 on the Darma website.

Note: The Gizmo Editor is an Expert Influencer engaged by, which provided a sample of the Darma cushion. 


Written by

Follow me on Twitter @ricmanning and read my technology columns at My Well Being.


  1. Great to know about this app for correcting posture to avoid back pain. I think it’s a must have app for people who have sitting jobs. I had back pain and tried acupuncture for treatment at an acupuncture Mississauga clinic and worked amazingly.



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