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When Your Computer Is Your (Talking) Ergonomics Coach

"Straighten up...!" Philips has developed a computer that advises its users on how they are sitting in front of the screen. It will also tell you when it's time to take a break.

Don't be a slouch... (Dwayne Bent)
Don't be a slouch... (Dwayne Bent)

PARIS – Philips has launched Ergosensor, a computer that checks if you are sitting properly in your chair. If you err in your ergonomics, a robot voice will remind you to "move away from the screen," or "straighten up your neck." Your body position is scrutinized by a webcam, helping you to keep "healthy" and "efficient" at work.

The device can more specifically tell you the positioning of your neck, and can advise you to "move back from the screen by 20 centimeters."

Also, if you happen to stay in front of the screen for too long, the computer will suggest it's time for a break: and after each hour of work, the image of a coffee cup will flash in the corner of your screen.

The camera calculates your position by spotting the whites of your eyes, which means that you can't use it while wearing sunglasses. But if you're in front of your computer screen at the beach, you have other problems.

For now, at least, the images of the user captured by the computer are not recorded.

Read more from Le Monde - Original article in French by Julien Dupont-Calbo

Photo – Dwayne Bent

*This is a digest item, not a direct translation

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Migrant Lives

They Migrated From Chiapas When Opportunities Dried Up, Orchids Brought Them Home

An orchid rehabilitation project is turning a small Mexican community into a tourist magnet — and attracting far-flung locals back to their hometown.

They Migrated From Chiapas When Opportunities Dried Up, Orchids Brought Them Home

Marcos Aguilar Pérez takes care of orchids rescued from the rainforest in his backyard in Santa Rita Las Flores, Mapastepec, Chiapas, Mexico.

Adriana Alcázar González/GPJ Mexico
Adriana Alcázar González

MAPASTEPEC — Sweat cascades down Candelaria Salas Gómez’s forehead as she separates the bulbs of one of the orchids she and the other members of the Santa Rita Las Flores Community Ecotourism group have rescued from the rainforest. The group houses and protects over 1,000 orchids recovered from El Triunfo Biosphere Reserve, in the southeastern Mexican state of Chiapas, after powerful storms.

“When the storms and heavy rains end, we climb to the vicinity of the mountains and collect the orchids that have fallen from the trees. We bring them to Santa Rita, care for them, and build their strength to reintegrate them into the reserve later,” says Salas Gómez, 32, as she attaches an orchid to a clay base to help it recover.

Like magnets, the orchids of Santa Rita have exerted a pull on those who have migrated from the area due to lack of opportunity. After years away from home, Salas Gómez was one of those who returned, attracted by the community venture to rescue these flowers and exhibit them as a tourist attraction, which provides residents with an adequate income.

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