Handheld Device Ergonomics

We are starting to see electronics consumers showing pains associated with phone and tablet usage, the angles at which these phones are being used is putting a lot of stress on our joints and specially on our cervical vertebrae. Research conducted by Kenneth K. Hansraj, Chief of spine surgery at New York Spine Surgery & Rehabilitation Medicine created a model of the cervical spine to measure the amount of force that our spine has to support with the varying angles in which we tilt our heads to look at our phone. As we can see from the data gathered by MD Kenneth K. Hansraj the weight the cervical spine has to support increases substantially with every 15 ° downward tilt.

Other common forms of pain include wrist, thumb and eye fatigue. While it is not easy to detach ourselves from a cellphone or tablet since they are part of our everyday routine, there are a few tips, and along with some specialty cellular accessories that can help you get the most out of your device while reducing general body fatigue and deterioration.

Handheld Device Ergonomics copy

Original image available in MD Kenneth’s research

Limit amount of time spent on the device.

As mentioned before, this can be hard, but it can be done with a little practice, according to Mobile Statistics website we spend an average of 23 days a year looking at our phone screen . Use your phone or tablet for when you really need them, when you’re expecting something truly important and not just to take a look at uncle ben’s bbq pictures on facebook.

Use a handsfree or bluetooth device whenever possible.

Sometimes we try to multitask and hold our phones with our head and shoulder, this can provoque neck pain in the long run, try using a chorded handsfree or even better a wireless bluetooth device to talk hands free and take care of other simple tasks at the same time.

Use index finger instead of thumb to navigate.

If you hold your phone with one hand and navigate with the thumb of that hand you will have some joint pain in the future, instead try holding your phone with one hand and use the index finger on the other hand to navigate through content in your cellphone.

Maintain a neutral wrist posture.

We often tend to curve our wrist and position them in an awkward form, try to have your wrists in a natural neutral position to reduce joint pain

Maintain your head in a natural not tilted position.

As you can see from the picture on MD Kenneth’s research we must try to keep our head at a 0 ° angle, instead of tilting your head raise your hands to eye level, this looks a little awkward since we are used to just looking down, your shoulders and arms will probably get tired but this is good to limit the time you look at the screen, you can set intervals of time instead of a prolonged session looking at the phone.

There is a very interesting video by Vodafone on some of these principles available in the following link watch the video and notice which things you’re doing right or wrong and take the time to fix them!

About the author.

A technology enthusiast, Matthew is always looking for ways enhance life with gadgets, mobile apps and the like. Since childhood he has embraced technology and follows  the impact it has in our lives, he currently writes for Cellular Barn, a company dedicated to the mobile accessories industry.

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