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Slouch or Slack Off, This 'Smart' Office Chair Cushion Will Record It


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An office chair equipped with "smart cushions."

Smart cushions developed by a Chinese company are being used to monitor those who sit on them.

Credit: Health Boost IoT Technology Company

"Smart cushions" designed by Chinese technology company Health Boost IoT Technology and used in office chairs have engendered controversy over privacy and surveillance.

Originally engineered to monitor users' health, flag bad posture, measure heart rates, and calculate minutes spent at work stations, the cushion was used by Health Boost's human resources (HR) manager to surveil workers.

Health Boost CEO Zhang Biyong said the cushions were meant to reduce workplace fatigue and prevent pains caused by long office hours, with the sensor-collected data supposedly used to encourage corrective habits.

He added that the cushion's users consented to participate in a study designed by a researcher at the Netherlands' Eindhoven University of Technology.

Zhang also said HR is responsible for monitoring staff's health, describing the cushion as "a tool that can help HR maintain the health of workers."

From The New York Times
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