Hardware is the New Software; Sitting the New Smoking (Guest Post)



Christopher Fryer is the cofounder of MVMNT, the makers of Rise, the wearable sit tracker, and whose mission it is to change the world with sensors and wearable tech. Chris is unfundable; he spends his time building things he loves. He’s a lifehacker in the throws of a hardware startup addiction.


By the time you read this blog post you will have shaved off over 2 minutes of your lifespan; That is, if you are sitting and you are a fast reader.

Sitting is killing you. An article in the British Journal of Sports Medicine estimated that each hour of sitting shaves off 22 minutes of your life span. That is twice as much as smoking a single cigarette. For that, and many other reasons sitting has become the new smoking of our generation.

Exercising won’t change that. You can exercise 60 minutes a day, 5 days a week and if you sit at a desk all day, you will still reap the adverse effects of sitting.  Sitting causes the muscles in the leg and back to be immobile and circulation slows. This causes your metabolism to slow down, you use less blood sugar, and your chances of depression, heart disease, and diabetes increase dramatically.

But the bigger problem is that sitting is so easy and acceptable. You show up at work and you have a chair waiting for you. That is why we created Rise, the wearable sit tracker (launched today on Indiegogo).

Rise helps you to sit less, be more healthy, and have better habits. It tracks how much you sit throughout the day and displays your trends on your smartphone. It will also send you notifications through the iPhone and Android app to remind you to stand up, stretch, and move around. My favorite part is that it will allow you to compare and compete with friends and co-workers to motivate you to sit less and be healthier.

We’re proud to be launching our crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo today. It’s been a wild ride getting to this point. It all started at Startup Weekend, the first ever Maker Edition. That is where my cofounder Morgan and I met. We built and pitched a magnetic rep counter for weightlifting where we competed with the hardware titan Marc Barros. Morgan built an Arduino based prototype that counted reps in 2 days! We did everything we could to impress Joe Heitzeberg, who was one of the judges, and we won.

Fast forward through 6 months of hard work, long hours, and lots of energy drinks and here we are. We decided to refocus from rep tracking to sit tracking because of the fact that sitting undermines many of the benefits you get from working out. From there we miniaturized our PCBs and started working with Scott, the industrial designer on the team. The results are awesome!

Along the way we couldn’t have gotten as far as we did without leveraging our personal networks. Kickmailer has been a crucial tool for us to keep our friends and family in the loop and engaged in our progress. From the emails we sent out each week we gained valuable feedback about the product and the market. It also helped us make the right connections with top tier media which will prove to be crucial to our success.

The best part of the journey has been how much we have learned. Hardware is hard but the key is to just jump in and be ready to learn. We’ve had our share of demo fails, bugs, and missteps but each one has taught us something new and refined our product to be the amazing device that it is today.

With the cost of 3D printing going down, more resources becoming available, and more startups entering the space we hope that hardware will become the new software. And we hope that our device will help stop sitting become the new smoking.

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Reference:  http://bjsm.bmj.com/content/early/2013/08/05/bjsports-2012-091896.abstract

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  1. Biolytic says:

    I like it. 
    At 31, I received a promotion that lead to me sitting all day hunched over. The result has been that I quickly developed heartburn (never had before). It sucks. I know I need to stand more, but I don’t really think about it during the day. This looks like it may help me. Living longer is cool and all that, but I’ll just be happy to not have heartburn.

    • cmfryer says:

      Biolytic Matt, someone else commented on another site that they were buying this for heartburn as well. I’d love to follow up with you and see if this makes a difference. I hate the dreaded heartburn and would love to know we are helping combat it in some way.