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PC monitor delivers pop-up health tips

  • ErgoSensor computer monitor designed to help your health at work
  • Built-in sensor alerts users to bad posture and and tells them when they need a break
  • Monitor which delivers pop-up messages goes on sale in Europe from December, Philips says

London (CNN) -- If your office colleagues keep commenting on your dead-eyed stare and your neck feels like it's set in concrete then the chances are you might be spending too much time in front of your computer screen.

But a new high-tech monitor, designed by Dutch electronics giant Philips, could help ease the physical plight brought about by your mental exertions.

A sensor embedded in the ErgoSensor computer monitor detects a range of movements, telling users if they are sitting in the "optimal ergonomic zone" as well as advising on posture.

"It measures the distance between the user and the monitor," Jeroen Brants, Philips MMD (Multimedia Displays) product manager for Europe explained.

"If the user is a little too close or too far away from the monitor, a pop-up message will appear in the bottom right side of the monitor, similar to receiving a new email."

If you are tired your eyes will blink less, so it will advise you to take a short coffee break
--Jeroen Brants Philips MMD product manager

The device can also see if your neck isn't straight and will advise you to straighten it, says Brants, as well as suggesting if you need to take a rest.

"If you are tired your eyes will blink less, so it will advise you to take a short coffee break," he said.

The new monitor, which also automatically switches off to save energy when no user is present, is currently on show at the IFA, an electronics trade fair in Berlin.

While anything that seeks to improve the physical health of desk-bound office workers should be applauded, one can't help thinking that these well-meaning missives from your monitor could get a tad irritating.

"You have to watch out that it's not like your mom telling you what to do, that's why we came up with pop-up messages," Brants said.

There is an option to switch it off, Brants says, but so far the feedback from testers has been positive.

Nevertheless, few people will need reminding of Microsoft's infamous Office Assistant, which featured on previous editions of their Office product range.

Springing into life without warning, "Clippy," as the animated paper clip became known, was widely scorned by Office users for its unbidden interventions into their working day.

The ErgoSensor monitor will go on sale in Europe from December.


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