Office workers who are moulded to their chairs all day could now be persuaded to stretch their legs more often thanks to researchers who have developed a "sitting pad" that sets off a loud beeping noise if employees don't move for long periods of time.
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 but the team from Queensland University said the device could prevent serious health problems.
"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 Daily Mail quoted team member Gemma Ryde as saying.
"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," Ryde said.
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
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," 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," she added. (ANI)