Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Shoulder pain from using your iPad? Don't use it on your lap

Date:
January 27, 2012
Source:
IOS Press BV
Summary:
The sudden popularity of tablet computers such as the Apple iPad has not allowed for the development of guidelines to optimize users' comfort and well-being. Researchers now report that head and neck posture during tablet computer use can be improved by placing the tablet higher to avoid low gaze angles, and through the use of a case that provides optimal viewing angles.

The sudden popularity of tablet computers such as the Apple iPad has not allowed for the development of guidelines to optimize users' comfort and well-being. In a new study published in Work: A Journal of Prevention, Assessment, and Rehabilitation, researchers from Harvard School of Public Health, Microsoft Corporation, and Brigham and Women's Hospital report that head and neck posture during tablet computer use can be improved by placing the tablet higher to avoid low gaze angles, and through the use of a case that provides optimal viewing angles.

Related Articles


"Compared to typical desktop computing scenarios, the use of media tablet computers is associated with high head and neck flexion postures, and there may be more of a concern for the development of neck and shoulder discomfort," said lead investigator Jack T. Dennerlein, PhD, of the Department of Environmental Health, Harvard School of Public Health, and Brigham and Women's Hospital.

Fifteen experienced tablet users completed a set of simulated tasks with two media tablets, an Apple iPad2 and a Motorola Xoom. Each tablet had a proprietary case that could be adjusted to prop up or tilt the tablet computer. The Apple Smart Cover allows for tilt angles of 15 and 73, and the Motorola Portfolio Case allows for tilt angles of 45 and 63. Four user configurations were tested: Lap-Hand, where the tablet was placed on the lap; Lap-Case, with the tablet placed on the lap in its case set at the lower angle setting; Table-Case, with the tablet placed on a table with its case at the lower angle; and Table-Movie, with the tablet placed on a table with its case at the higher angle.

During the experiment, users completed simple computer tasks such as Internet browsing and reading, game playing, email reading and responding, and movie watching. Head and neck postures and gaze angle and distance were measured using an infrared three-dimensional motion analysis system.

Head and neck flexion varied significantly across the four configurations and across the two tablets tested. The iPad2 was associated with more flexed postures when it was placed in its case. This appeared to be driven by differences in case design, which drastically altered the tablet tilt angle and the corresponding viewing angle. For both tablets, the gaze angle changed in a similar fashion to the head flexion across all configurations, with non-perpendicular viewing angles causing increased head and neck flexion. Head and neck flexion angles were greater, in general, than reported for desktop or notebook computing.

Only when the tablets were used in the Table-Movie configuration, where the devices were set at their steepest case angle setting and at the greatest horizontal and vertical position, did posture approach neutral. This suggests that tablet users should place the tablet higher, on a table rather than a lap, to avoid low gaze angles, and use a case that provides steeper viewing angles. However, steeper angles may be detrimental for continuous input with the hands. "Further studies examining the effects of tablet and configuration on arm and wrist postures are needed to clarify and complete the postural evaluation," noted Dr. Dennerlein.

"Our results will be useful for updating ergonomic computing standards and guidelines for tablet computers. These are urgently needed as companies and health care providers weigh options to implement wide-scale adoption of tablet computers for business operations," Dr. Dennerlein concluded.

The study, "Touch-Screen Tablet User Configurations and Case-Supported Tilt Affect Head and Neck Flexion Angles," by Justin G. Young, Matthieu Trudeau, Dan Odell, Kim Marinelli, Jack T. Dennerleinhas been made freely available at:


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. J.G. Young, M. Trudeau, D. Odell, K. Marinelli, and J.T. Dennerlein. Touch-Screen Tablet User Configurations and Case-Supported Tilt Affect Head and Neck Flexion Angles. Work: A Journal of Prevention, Assessment, and Rehabilitation, 41(1) (2012), pp. 81-91 DOI: 10.3233/WOR-2012-1337

Cite This Page:

IOS Press BV. "Shoulder pain from using your iPad? Don't use it on your lap." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 January 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120125091055.htm>.
IOS Press BV. (2012, January 27). Shoulder pain from using your iPad? Don't use it on your lap. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120125091055.htm
IOS Press BV. "Shoulder pain from using your iPad? Don't use it on your lap." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120125091055.htm (accessed December 18, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

UN: Up to One Million Facing Hunger in Ebola-Hit Countries

UN: Up to One Million Facing Hunger in Ebola-Hit Countries

AFP (Dec. 17, 2014) Border closures, quarantines and crop losses in West African nations battling the Ebola virus could lead to as many as one million people going hungry, UN food agencies said on Wednesday. Duration: 00:52 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) Can fat disappear into thin air? New research finds that during weight loss, over 80 percent of a person's fat molecules escape through the lungs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Why Your Boss Should Let You Sleep In

Why Your Boss Should Let You Sleep In

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) According to research out of the University of Pennsylvania, waking up for work is the biggest factor that causes Americans to lose sleep. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Flu Outbreak Closing Schools in Ohio

Flu Outbreak Closing Schools in Ohio

AP (Dec. 17, 2014) A wave of flu illnesses has forced some Ohio schools to shut down over the past week. State officials confirmed one pediatric flu-related death, a 15-year-old girl in southern Ohio. (Dec. 17) Video provided by AP
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