Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Can A Vibrating Mouse Prevent Computer-related Injuries?

Date:
December 27, 2007
Source:
Cornell University
Summary:
An international authority on office ergonomics studies a chair that undulates, a mouse that vibrates, a monitor attached to a movable arm and other newfangled workstations. Back injuries also account for one-third of all workplace injuries. A decade ago most of these were associated with heavy lifting. Today they are mostly caused by people sitting for longer periods of time -- often in front of a computer.

This chair with an undulating seat is a prototype of one of the ergonomic products Professor Alan Hedge studies to determine what kinds of products would prevent back and other problems caused by sitting in front of a computer all day.
Credit: Lindsay France/University Photography

A chair that undulates, a mouse that vibrates, a monitor suspended over a desk on a movable arm. These are some of the kinds of newfangled ergonomic products that Alan Hedge, international authority on office ergonomics, studies to see if they can prevent repetitive motion injuries among the estimated 100 million people who now use computers in the United States.

Related Articles


"One-third to one-half of all compensatory injuries are repetitive-motion injuries associated with office-type work," says Hedge, professor of design and environmental analysis in Cornell's College of Human Ecology.

Back injuries also account for one-third of all workplace injuries. A decade ago most of these were associated with heavy lifting. Today they are mostly caused by people sitting for longer periods of time -- often in front of a computer.

The younger onset of computer use makes the current rate of compensatory damage claims the canary in the coal mine. There is typically a 10- to 15-year latency before injuries start to develop, Hedge has found. In the early 1990s he showed that the average age of workers reporting carpal tunnel syndrome was late 30s to early 40s; last year, he found the average age of onset had dropped to the mid-20s and even younger for some people.

"Now kids are using computers at age 2, so by the time they enter the workforce they'll already be primed for injuries," Hedge says. "This is very serious because an injury can become life-changing; carpal tunnel, for example, is not curable. They'll have to manage this chronic condition for the rest of their lives."

To better determine how design concepts can prevent such injuries, Hedge's Cornell Human Factors and Ergonomics Research Group studies innovative products. Among his recent projects:

• Vibrating mouse: To see if a vibrating mouse could prevent upper extremity musculoskeletal disorders in computer users by signaling people to take their hand off the mouse to avoid overuse, Hedge and graduate student Chris Moe reported at the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Annual Meeting in October 2007 that although subjects do remove their hands more often with a vibrating mouse than with a conventional mouse, they tended to hold their hand just above the mouse.

"This position is potentially more detrimental because of a potential increase in static muscle activity required to hover the hand," Hedge says, concluding that people should rest their hands on a flat surface when they feel the vibration.

• Undulating chairs: Another study examined whether a seat that made a continuous massaging, wavelike movement at an adjustable rate would alleviate back pain in people whose pain increases when they are seated. Although his findings were mixed, Hedge and graduate student Erin Lawler concluded that the movable seat was a concept with promise, particularly for individuals with back problems.

• Movable arms for monitors: A third study looked at how suspending a flat panel computer monitor on a movable arm affects people's comfort, posture and preference. Hedge and graduate student Kathryn Boothroyd found that people unanimously liked the monitor arm because they could adjust their LCD screen, and it gave them more room on their desktop for documents.

"We saw fewer complaints about neck problems and about the workstation because people had more space," says Hedge. He was surprised, however, that users liked the versatility of the movable arm to show others what was on their screen. "This simple design change in screen adjustability has many potential benefits associated with it," Hedge concludes.

"Everything we do can be summed up in the phrase: Good ergonomics is great economics," Hedge says. "More than 90 percent of a company's costs are people costs, so making small investments in improving the workplace by using good ergonomic products pays huge dividends."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Cornell University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Cornell University. "Can A Vibrating Mouse Prevent Computer-related Injuries?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 December 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/12/071221163210.htm>.
Cornell University. (2007, December 27). Can A Vibrating Mouse Prevent Computer-related Injuries?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 26, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/12/071221163210.htm
Cornell University. "Can A Vibrating Mouse Prevent Computer-related Injuries?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/12/071221163210.htm (accessed November 26, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) — The US FDA is announcing new calorie rules on Tuesday that will require everywhere from theaters to vending machines to include calorie counts. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Daily Serving Of Yogurt Could Reduce Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes

Daily Serving Of Yogurt Could Reduce Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) — Need another reason to eat yogurt every day? Researchers now say it could reduce a person's risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Madagascar Working to Contain Plague Outbreak

Madagascar Working to Contain Plague Outbreak

AFP (Nov. 24, 2014) — Madagascar said Monday it is trying to contain an outbreak of plague -- similar to the Black Death that swept Medieval Europe -- that has killed 40 people and is spreading to the capital Antananarivo. Duration: 00:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Newsy (Nov. 24, 2014) — A new study links greater authority with increased depressive symptoms among women in the workplace. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins