Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Ergonomic devices ease computer-related pain

Effect of trackball on upper body aches ...

"Upper-body aches and injuries can result from hour after hour spent in an awkward posture at a computer terminal. A recent study found that an ergonomic device at a workstation can result in less pain and fewer injuries.

The study involved 182 people, mostly women, who worked more than 20 hours a week at a computer. They were randomly assigned to get ergonomics training only or to combine training with use of either a forearm support or a mouse replacement known as a trackball, or both. The forearm support, a padded arm board, was attached to the front edge of the work surface. The trackball used a large ball to move the cursor. Training included advice on posture, positioning a mouse and adjusting chair and monitor heights.

During a one-year period, 63 participants were diagnosed with musculoskeletal disorders related to their computer work. Those who used arm boards had about half the neck and shoulder problems as those who got training only; they also reported less neck, shoulder and right-side pain and used less pain medication. Use of a trackball had little effect on the occurrence of neck and shoulder problems or pain but did correlate with fewer complaints of left-side pain.

Researchers speculated that the trackball's effect on the left side may have stemmed from decreased keyboarding with the left hand and increased use of the mouse replacement. Some participants reported difficulty using the trackball."   continued ...   (Via Star-Telegram)

Trackball - User Interface Design, Human Computer Interaction (HCI), Ergonomics


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