‘Back Straight Boys’ to speak in Las Vegas about ‘Posture Pad’ invention

By Karen Billing


The Back Straight Boys are determined to get their Posture Pad invention selling in stores, even if it means they work until they become the Back Straight Men.

The young Carmel Valley inventors, Sean Colford, Ethan Epstein, Brandon Loye and Michael Walsh, started work on their Posture Pad as part of a middle school science project at Carmel Valley Middle School. In the fall they will be sophomores at Canyon Crest Academy.

The boys have been working steadily since 2009 when they won a $25,000 grant from the Christopher Columbus Awards to help bring their idea to improve people’s posture at their computer to a larger scale.

“We’re trying to educate people about the problems of RSI (Repetitive Strain Injury),” said Michael. RSI, caused by poor posture when using the computer, can affect muscles, tendons and nerves in the arms and upper back, and can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis and bursitis. “(Having good posture) is a lot easier with our invention.”

They have filed for a patent on their Posture Pad, which could take about two to three years to process. A prototype has been developed and they are starting to look at the possibility of production but it is a lengthy process.

“There’s been a lot of ups and downs,” Ethan said. “There’s been some awesome moments and a lot of work has gone into it.”

“To have our invention selling in stores before college would be pretty cool,” Brandon said.

The team will speak at the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society in Las Vegas in September. No strangers to speaking to large crowds, the Back Straight Boys have previously presented at the The Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education, and presented a resolution at the California State PTA Convention. A story on the boys and their work was recently done by, a popular website that covers new technologies.

“We try to get as much information in as we can in a little time,” said Brandon.

“We try to keep it entertaining, too,” Sean said.

They are in the process of getting a pilot study done at Boston University using the Posture Pad and have submitted their work to a peer review journal for publication.

Impressively, they’ve been able to keep the project moving despite their busy schedules: Brandon plays basketball, Michael plays soccer and tennis, Ethan runs cross country and is very involved at his temple, and Sean is a Boy Scout working on his Eagle Scout project.

The boys also still count each other among their closest friends.

To learn more about the Back Straight Boys, visit