The Lumo Lift: A Day One Review

(NOTE: Based on time elapsed since the posting of this entry, the BS-o-meter calculates this is 6.03% likely to be something that Ferrett now regrets.)

As seems to be a sad new tradition, I got my birthday present today.  Yes, my birthday is July 3rd.   But I seem to have picked up an affinity for ridiculous Kickstarters, and so in this new digital age my life consists of a constant stream of emails from developers, promising me that delivery is just around the corner.  I expect I will forever be ordering things I’m excited about today that arrive forever later.
(If you’re curious about my impending Soylent experiment, well, the shipping is delayed.  Still.  Always.)
Anyway, this gift was the Lumo Lift, which seemed like an awesome idea – it’s a step-counter that improves your posture.  Whenever you slouch – and I usually have a spine shaped like a question mark – the Lumo Lift buzzes, reminding you to remove your Quasimodo-like crouch and stand straight and tall!
And early results seem to indicate that it corrects your posture like the Dance Central game teaches you how to dance – which is to say that you can kinda flail in the general direction of things, but there’s no fine-tuned body-sensing and a sad vacuum of feedback.
I’ve taken one walk around the block with it, and thus maybe things get better.  But that one walk was frustrating.
The biggest problem with the Lumo Lift is that it’s supposed to buzz every time you fall out of position.  And that would be great, if it did.  But either it didn’t buzz, or the buzz was so faint I didn’t feel it, so I had to walk around holding my iPhone in front of my face with the Lumo Lifecoach app blaring red at me.
Worse, when you correct your posture, there’s no haptic feedback that I could sense.  So basically, even if it buzzed every time I fell out of position, the Lumo Lift is like having someone tap on your shoulder and say, “Hey, you’re slouching” but that guy never tells you when you’ve got it right.  The app supposedly glows green when you get back into position, but the delay on it was really long at times, and walking around stiffly staring at a phone seems to be a great way to walk into trees.
(Though this is where the Apple Watch would come in super-handy – if the background on your screen was red when you slouched, green when you stood straight, that would be a nice integrated way of sensing where you were.)
Worse to the worse, the Lumo Lift didn’t seem to register some changes in position.  It told me I was slouching for the last quarter-block of my walk, and I kept leaning back and forward, wriggling around like I was trying to get an old rabbit-ear antenna to pick up CBS, and nothing happened.  Eventually I had to reset the Lumo to tell it “I AM STANDING STRAIGHT, DAMMIT,” but that involved pressing twice, or three times, or whenever, because it wasn’t exactly consistent in registering feedback.
On the bright side, it turns out that walking around the block with Shasta is about 1,750 steps.  So I feel fit.  My target is 10,000, and we’ll see if I can get there.
(On the super-plus side, according to the “10,000” rule, once I achieve 10,000 steps I will be a master at walking.  So I’m psyched about that.)
I’m gonna wrangle with it some more, because I like the idea, but the Lumo didn’t actually provide any helpful feedback on this first run.  I stood straighter, but that’s because I was trying to stand straighter because I paid like $80 for this frickin’ thing and dammit, I was trying to get it to work.  What I need is something that actually buzzes when I’m out of position in a way that alerts me consistently, and I don’t think that does that effectively – or maybe I just haven’t doped out how to use it yet.
Oh well.  I got a dog to walk after work.  Let’s see how this goes.

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