Upper extremity kinematics during keyboard use is associated with musculoskeletal health among computer users; however, specific kinematics patterns are unclear. This study aimed to determine the dynamic roles of the shoulder, elbow, wrist and metacarpophalangeal (MCP) joints during a number entry task. Six subjects typed in phone numbers using their right index finger on a stand-alone numeric keypad. The contribution of each joint of the upper extremity to the fingertip movement during the task was calculated from the joint angle trajectory and the Jacobian matrix of a nine-degree-of-freedom kinematic representation of the finger, hand, forearm and upper arm. The results indicated that in the vertical direction where the greatest fingertip movement occurred, the MCP, wrist, elbow (including forearm) and shoulder joint contributed 10.2%, 55.6%, 27.7% and 6.5%, respectively, to the downward motion of the index finger averaged across subjects. The results demonstrated that the wrist and elbow contribute the most to the fingertip vertical movement, indicating that they play a major role in the keying motion and have a dynamic load beyond maintaining posture.
Jin Qin, Matthieu Trudeau, Bryan Buchholz, Jeffrey N. Katz, Xu Xu and Jack T. Dennerlein
Jennifer L. Bruno, Zhizhong Li, Matthieu Trudeau, Sachin M. Raina and Jack T. Dennerlein
The goal of this study was to evaluate the performance of a single video camera system for measuring shoulder rotation during computer work, and to quantify the work and postural space within which the system performs optimally. Shoulder rotation angles calculated using the video system were compared with angles calculated using an active infrared LED three-dimensional motion analysis system while 10 adult volunteers simulated postures for two different trials: typical of normal computer work (freestyle) and with forced shoulder abduction (constrained). Average and absolute errors were calculated to determine the accuracy and precision of the system, respectively, for each trial, for each position, and for both the right and left hands. For the right hand, mean values for the average and absolute errors were –1 and 0 degrees, respectively. Only the absolute error increased significantly to 12 degrees for the constrained posture compared with freestyle. During normal computer work, the video system provided shoulder rotation angle values similar to those of a three-dimensional system, thus making it a viable and simple instrument to use in field studies.
Sarah M. Coppola, Philippe C. Dixon, Boyi Hu, Michael Y.C. Lin and Jack T. Dennerlein
This study examined the effects of 4 micro-travel keyboards on forearm muscle activity, typing force, typing performance, and self-reported discomfort and difficulty. A total of 20 participants completed typing tasks on 4 commercially available devices with different key switch characteristics (dome, scissors, and butterfly) and key travels (0.55, 1.3, and 1.6 mm). The device with short-travel (0.55 mm) and a dome-type key switch mechanism was associated with higher muscle activities (6%–8%, P < .01), higher typing force (12%, P < .01), slower typing speeds (8%, P < .01), and twice as much discomfort (P < .05), compared with the other 3 devices: short-travel (0.55 mm) and butterfly switch design and long travel (1.3 and 1.6 mm) with scissor key switches. Participants rated the devices with larger travels (1.3 and 1.6 mm) with least discomfort (P = .02) and difficulty (P < .01). When stratified by sex/gender, these observed associations were larger and more significant in the female participants compared with male participants. The devices with similar travel but different key switch designs had difference in outcomes and devices with different travel were sometimes not different. The results suggest that key travel alone does not predict typing force or muscle activity.