A good excuse for a tea break! The chair that sounds an alarm to stop office workers risking their health by sitting all day
The sitting pad measures the time a worker spends at their desk using a pressure sensorIt uses a microcontroller to create a time stamp when they stand upCan be set up to sound an
alarm if a person has been sitting for too long

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UPDATED:

16:24 GMT, 5 December 2012

Chained to the desk Researchers have developed a seat they hope will encourage workers to walk around

Chained to the desk Researchers have developed a seat they hope will encourage workers to walk around

Office workers who are moulded to their chairs all day could be persuaded to stretch their legs more often thanks to an 'alarming' invention.

Researchers have developed a 'sitting pad' that sets off a loud beeping if employees don't move for long periods of time.

And those who try to trick the system by briefly standing up before plonking themselves back down will simply set the siren off again.

Some may find the notion of being
forced to walk around intrusive. However, the team from Queensland
University said the device could prevent serious health problems.

Team member PhD student Gemma Ryde said: 'Sitting for large portions of the day
is associated with poor health outcomes and a reduced life expectancy,
even for those people who might be considered physically active.

'The sitting pad results will contribute towards the growing body of evidence in the area of occupational sitting.

'Our studies have shown that the sitting
pad is a highly accurate measurement tool that can objectively measure
desk based sitting time and the number of times employees get up from
their own desk.'

There is a wealth of evidence that
sitting down all day can shorten your life. Recently published research
from the University of Loughborough found a sedentary lifestyle can
double the risk of diabetes and heart attacks. Getting up to go on a tea
round, walking to instead of emailing a colleague and leaving the
building during a lunch break are all ways of combating the problem.

The sitting pad measures the time a worker spends
sitting at their desk using a medical grade pressure sensor and custom
made microcontroller to record a timestamp each time an employee sits
down or stands up.

A feedback mechanism built into the
sitting pad is attached to the sensor, which can then be set to sound an
alarm if a person has been sitting for a certain pre-determined amount
of time.

It also has Bluetooth connectivity, which can be used in intervention studies.

The pad contains a microcontroller that records a timestamp each time an employee sits down or stands up

The pad contains a microcontroller that records a timestamp each time an employee sits down or stands up

When using the device to measure desk
based sitting patterns, the study found employees spent over two-thirds
of their work hours sitting at a desk.

'It is important to accurately measure
and understand behaviour in order to introduce effective intervention
methods to the workplace to improve employee health and wellbeing, and
to create a more productive workforce,' Ms Ryde said.

'Future interventions to reduce
desk-based sitting time need to prompt each individual employee, in real
time, as the prolonged, uninterrupted sitting occurs.'