|M.Sc Student||Somer Lapid|
|Subject||Design and Comparative Evaluation of a Static Support|
for the Typing Environment
|Department||Department of Architecture and Town Planning||Supervisor||DR. Yair Lifshitz|
|Full Thesis text|
In an era of rapidly increasing frequency in computer use, the commonness of musculoskeletal diseases related to cumulative trauma in the typing environment is growing. This study follows five main stages. The first stage is an investigation of the injury risk factors of the typing task. Then, a market survey on existing solutions for these risk factors is presented. The third stage is a description of the gap between the ergonomic needs during typing and current solutions. Based on the market survey, the fourth stage is held, in which recommendations for a new product design is offered. The novel solution represents an ergonomic integration between the physical needs during typing and esthetics. The new model is termed Ergonomic Support for the Typing Environment (ESTE). A mock-up of this product was constructed and in the fifth stage was compared to two existing ergonomic products for the typing environment. The three instruments were tested on 37 healthy female engineering students. Each participant was given two page-long typing tasks. One typed with ESTE and the other with one of the alternative products, with the order of tasks altered randomly.
Four measurements were used for the comparative assessment of the three devices. Two of them measured typing performances: speed and accuracy. The main results showed that while ESTE was associated with longer typing time performance, accuracy was similar across the three devices.
The third assessment tool involved expert ergonomic evaluation of the studied supports by eight Occupational Therapists (OTs). The assessments revealed higher ergonomic grades assigned to ESTE compared to the other supports.
The fourth evaluation tool was self-report questionnaires answered by the participants after performing the typing tasks. A majority of the participants reported discomfort during use of the new product compared to their experience with the alternative devices.
The seemingly conflicting results presented in this research report are discussed in terms of the current methodological inconsistency in ergonomic evaluation research. The scientific literature is characterized by research employing diverse durations of task performance, different number of participants and a variety of measurement tools. Under these circumstances it is difficult to determine standard criteria for the ergonomic environment and the ability to interpret or compare research outcome in the field stays limited.
Further research on methods of the ergonomic assessment of working habitats is suggested.