The Ergonomics of Computer Gaming

By gildalit

childrens ergonomic
More and more doctors recommend that you use the Wii gaming console as a tool for physical exercise  and up keep of a healthy lifestyle.
Does this idea have merits? I’m not so sure.
In many homes today, computers and televisions are used as the parents babysitter and lifesaver. When kids get bored, it is just too easy to tell them to go watch TV or play on the computer.
On the other hand, many parents are becoming aware of the physical deterioration caused by prolonged sitting in front of a computer or television and their conscience is working overtime!
However, recently it seemed a solution to this quandary has been found. Parents talk about it enthusiastically  – “I bought the kids a Wii console and we are really pleased, it’s a win win situation – the kids are absorbed into this new activity and are busy and quiet, plus they’re actually physically active in a way even doctors recommend”.
I, for one, did not buy my children the Wii, and surprisingly, they’ve never asked me to do so.
The truth to be told is that my children love real life activity, like riding a bike outside, playing tennis on a real tennis court, they enjoy basketball and soccer, playing catch with their friends… generally, they prefer being outside rather than inside the house.
In my opinion, children playing Wii get too used to the convenience of home, to the sweetened drinks and sweets accompanying play time. They lose the ability to orient themselves in space, they lose range of motion, physical interaction and physical contact gained in playing with other children. They miss out on learning and improving the different timing perception of ball delivery, kick, and body balance acquired when playing outside, and suffer a loss of the sensory capability acquired outside the home. Yes, even the ability of dealing with the elements and some inclement weather is lost to them.
I agree that there are some health benefits to playing Wii but they can not be at all compared favorably to games held in the open, fresh air outside. In fact, the most dangerous thing is that those games become a permanent substitute for real life active games and supply us parents with the illusion that we can, in good conscience, allow our children to sit at the computer again.

More and more doctors recommend that you use the Wii gaming console as a tool for physical exercise  and up keep of a healthy lifestyle.Does this idea have merits? I’m not so sure.In many homes today, computers and televisions are used as the parents babysitter and lifesaver. When kids get bored, it is just too easy to tell them to go watch TV or play on the computer.On the other hand, many parents are becoming aware of the physical deterioration caused by prolonged sitting in front of a computer or television and their conscience is working overtime!However, recently it seemed a solution to this quandary has been found. Parents talk about it enthusiastically  – “I bought the kids a Wii console and we are really pleased, it’s a win win situation – the kids are absorbed into this new activity and are busy and quiet, plus they’re actually physically active in a way even doctors recommend”.I, for one, did not buy my children the Wii, and surprisingly, they’ve never asked me to do so.The truth to be told is that my children love real life activity, like riding a bike outside, playing tennis on a real tennis court, they enjoy basketball and soccer, playing catch with their friends… generally, they prefer being outside rather than inside the house.In my opinion, children playing Wii get too used to the convenience of home, to the sweetened drinks and sweets accompanying play time. They lose the ability to orient themselves in space, they lose range of motion, physical interaction and physical contact gained in playing with other children. They miss out on learning and improving the different timing perception of ball delivery, kick, and body balance acquired when playing outside, and suffer a loss of the sensory capability acquired outside the home. Yes, even the ability of dealing with the elements and some inclement weather is lost to them.
I agree that there are some health benefits to playing Wii but they can not be at all compared favorably to games held in the open, fresh air outside. In fact, the most dangerous thing is that those games become a permanent substitute for real life active games and supply us parents with the illusion that we can, in good conscience, allow our children to sit at the computer again.

Can an investment in ergonomics save money for the organization/ prove to be cost effective?

By gildalit

ergonomic accessories

Gil Ben Tovim ergonomic consultant

Many organizations hesitate to embark into what they see as the stormy waters of ergonomics, fearing that they will face purchasing costly ergonomic accessories, or that employees will start demanding special chairs, keyboards, mice, desks and so on.

Is their fear justified? By all means no!

As an ergonomic consultant to numerous organizations, I am often called to examine and give advice for existing workstations, only to find faulty ergonomic planning. Surprisingly, it is the actually at work stations boasting special design and laden with expensive accessories where we find problems.

For example: an expensive executive chair that does not fit its user, or is badly proportioned to the desk, or a desk that doesn’t allow for resting your legs comfortably, or a desk that is too large for the room’s dimensions or a large size ergonomic keyboard that does no fit the user.

My job as an ergonomic consultant is to provide the functional solution, meaning that as far as I’m concerned, a wide desk with appropriate leg room will provide a better solution than an expensive, designer table that does not allow for a comfortable sitting posture. Likewise, a chair that fits both the desk and the user’s body proportions will be a much better solution than a fancy, expensive executive chair that is out of proportion with the user’s body or the desk.

Equipment that is suitable and adjusted to the employee will certainly prevent discomfort or bodily injuries in the future.

In many companies that use my ergonomic consulting services we actually witnessed a decrease in demands for a chair replacement, because when you provide the employee with the proper guidance on how to adjust his or her chair and organize the workstation in a proper ergonomic way, work comfort and usage experience are enhanced.

True, sometimes there’s a need to replace some of the equipment, but at least the new equipment is directed to where it’s really needed, the acquisition is budgeted and prioritized and is nor a half baked random purchase that  eventually might be discovered to be unnecessary.

In many companies I have come across foot rests thrown in the room, unused keyboard gel pads, superfluous monitor stands, etc.

As you see, solid ergonomic advice not only saves you money and renders good ROI in the long term! It can reimburse the expense almost immediately.

categoriaergonomics commentoNo Comments dataDecember 21st, 2009
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Choosing an ergonomic mouse

By gildalit

ergonomic mouse

ergonomic mouse

extention

ergonomics mouse

What turns a computer mouse into an “ergonomic” accessory?

What are the criteria for an ergonomic mouse?

When purchasing a new mouse, how can we be certain that the mouse touted to be ergonomic does indeed comply with ergonomic criteria?

Does any mice manufacturer have the right to attach the word “ergonomic” to their products?

And is an ergonomic mouse really better than a regular mouse? That is, would an ergonomic mouse helps in preventing carpal tunnel syndrome and inflammations of the wrist?

And last but not least, given the huge assortment of ergonomic mouse devices on the market, how do we know which would be the best and the most appropriate for us?

In order to solve some of these questions, we would first need to determine what exactly is an ergonomic mouse, and what functions are not included in the ergonomic definition.

You might be surprised to know, but the design process of any product involves certain ergonomic considerations.

That being so, basically any product can be called “ergonomic”.

Confused? So am I, but the answer is simple – ergonomic means “suited to the user”. That’s right – Suited to You. That’s the greatest secret of ergonomics.

For example: a small handed girl working with an ergonomic mouse significantly big for her hand or a large man working with a smallish ergonomic mouse will feel very uncomfortable, even though they’re using a mouse that supposedly is ergonomic. An accountant using an extremely narrow or cluttered desk, who chooses to use a large mouse that can hardly be moved on such a desk, will also feel discomfort.

The obvious conclusion is: the mouse should be chosen first and foremost according to body size, work needs and desk format.

Having chosen the ergonomic mouse that fits us we have to ask – would that mouse itself prevent wrist pain?

The answer depends on how we sit and the posture of our hand on the desk.

For example: if we sit too low in respect to our desk, we will not be able to place our hand correctly on the desk, and no ergonomic mouse can or will help us. Or if due to the table structure or the multitude of devices placed on the desk (laptop, telephone, folders… you name it) there is not enough free space to place our wrist, we will not be able to achieve the correct hand posture to benefit from the ergonomic mouse.

posture

ergonomic posture

So, we understood that we need to choose a mouse that is appropriate to our structure and needs, and have arranged our sitting position and desk to enable us to create the right arm and hand position. The question still remains: Should we buy a mouse defined as ergonomic or can we be satisfied with a simple mouse?

The answer is not that simple. Our best advice would be to try out several mouse devices for a period of time, to feel if there’s any change. I believe some of the ergonomic mouse devices sold today have a structure that definitely lessens the pressure on the hand. Those are worth trying first.

categoriaergonomics mouse commento11 Comments dataDecember 13th, 2009
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Standardization – an Ergonomic Working Environment at the Office

By gildalit

ergonomic desk 1ergonomic desk

One of the first things I have noticed as an ergonomic advisor was the lack of uniformity and total absence of any standardization of the working environments at offices and working places.

This is mainly evident when you look at the equipment being used – a haphazard mix of old and new appliances, furniture items and ergonomic equipment. In many offices you can find a medley of different desks and chairs even in a single working space.

How would such a situation be created? There are a ton of different reasons.

For example, many working places might replace malfunctioning or broken equipment, but anything that is still functional gets left as it was.

Another reason could be replacing a specific item or equipment, only for those employees who used some sort of leverage to get their equipment renewed. And sometimes, it’s all about ranks – new and improved equipment is bought for the higher rank workers of the organization, but not for the lower ranks.

Additional reasons might be different decisions reached by different purchasing officers, a decision made by the operational vice president, a change in the budget allocated to acquisition, etc.

What is more clear is that this lack of uniformity can and does create an array of problems:

  1. Those workers left to work with outdated equipment suffer discomfort and pains;
  2. Each working station requires different ergonomic accessories  (which ofcourse entails a higher monetary expenditure);
  3. It is impossible to offer a uniform ergonomic guidance to all workers;
  4. Planning the arrangement of different work stations in one working space is complex and unecessarily problematic;
  5. It is a situation which could create resentment among workers and lead to demands for ergonomic equipment;
  6. And of course this is a situation which could damage the organization’s public image.

Using solid ergonomic advise and planning when getting ready to purchase ergonomic equipment in the early stages of building work stations is a critical step. Good ergonomic advice will allow the organization to create a healthy, ergonomic and uniform work environment.

categoriaergonomics setting commento3 Comments dataDecember 9th, 2009
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