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Are Lighter Smartphones Ergonomically Better?
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 Title & Authors
Are Lighter Smartphones Ergonomically Better?
Yoon, Jangwhon; Kim, Kisong; Yoon, Taelim;
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Objective: The aim of this study was to understand the effects of phone weight on the typing performance and muscle recruitment in the neck and upper extremity while typing a text message with dominant hand. The iPhone4 and iPhone5 were compared due to their 28-gram differences in weight. Background: Too much use of a cellular phone can lead the musculoskeletal disorders in the upper extremity. Phone makers tend to make their new models bigger, lighter, faster and smarter. Method: Fourteen healthy volunteers without any history of neuromuscular disorders or ongoing pain who used their smartphone more than one year were recruited. A 112g phone (iPhone5) and a 142g phone (iPhone4) were used for typing the lyric of the Korean national anthem with their dominant hand. Typing duration, the typing error, the perceived fatigue, and preference was investigated. Muscle recruitment and the resting gap of neck (middle trapezius and levator scapula), shoulder (infraspinatus and mid deltoid), elbow (biceps brachii and brachioradialis), thumb (extensor and abductor policis brevis) were collected using surface electromyography. Typing error was counted and typing speed was calculated in characters per min. The data were analyzed using a paired t-test and chi-square () analysis for the effects of phone weight on the typing performance parameters and muscle recruitment. Results: Typing text message with iPhone5 took longer but had less muscle recruitment in brachioradialis, and extensor policis brevis muscles. Lighter weight of iPhone5 made biceps brachii to rest less without increasing the mean %EMG. Conclusion/Application: Findings of this study can be valuable information for phone designers to develop more productive device and for smartphone users to prevent the musculoskeletal disorders in the upper extremities.
Smart phone;Electromyography;Perceived fatigue;Upper extremity;Typing;
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