Ergonomics is the study of how objects interact with the body, and how to make those objects interact in a more comfortable way. This is a very important study, especially as people use computers, phones and other devices more and more frequently in their daily lives. Without proper ergonomics, these devices could cause injury after long and repetitive use. Proper ergonomics, therefore, is a topic of concern for aging adults as well, because the body does not work as well in later years.
Types of Ergonomics
There are three main branches of ergonomics. The most popular is physical ergonomics. This takes physiological movement into account. Physical ergonomics are concerned with making devices that fit the body. They must work with the muscles and the angles of the human body to properly work.
Cognitive ergonomics are about how cognitive processes work in the human brain. There are few items that are made for cognitive ergonomics. Rather, this is commonly about making schedules, charts and processes that can easily fit within the human brain. For example, the common human can remember seven items at once. Cognitive ergonomic structures will utilize this when making graphs and charts.
Organizational ergonomics are concerned with how people are organized. This is commonly used by managers when they need employees to work in teams. Managers will commonly organize people based on skills and how they work together. This formation creates a team that is best suited for productivity.
The study of ergonomics is all about making items easier for people to use. A common example of an often used item that may be ergonomic in design is an ergonomic keyboard, such as a Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000 (pictured below), which is made in a way that directly works with natural hand movements. Ergonomists who design products like these must understand how the human body works, and know the limitations and capabilities of the body or mind. There are dozens of other kinds of ergonomic items that one can easily integrate into one’s life to reduce the long term stress and wear on the body.
While the above-mentioned ergonomic keyboard and other computer devices are common in ergonomic items, another thriving market is the daily living niche for seniors. In fact, seniors often benefit the most from ergonomic items. This is because they are more prone to muscular injury, and normal items dramatically increase the risk of injury. Not only that, but ergonomic daily living items make normal tasks much easier because they are sized to fit the human hand, and they cause less strain to the eyes.
Aside from making objects easier and more comfortable to use, ergonomists are also concerned with preventing injuries. When someone uses an uncomfortable device for a long time, such as an uncomfortable keyboard or phone, this causes the muscles to tense unnaturally.
Normally users will just feel momentary discomfort that alleviates after use. However, long and repetitive use causes permanent damage to the unnaturally tensed muscles. This can make it difficult to move the muscle, and it can cause chronic pain.
An ergonomic device is designed to prevent injury. The chance of injury occurring is drastically reduced when the device emulates or fits in with natural human movements. Ergonomic devices are often made at different angles and sizes than normal devices, making them uniquely suited for natural movement.
Ergonomic items are designed to help people function. While most items are made to accommodate the human body, there are also strategies for helping the human brain within ergonomics. If you are having a hard time seeing small letters, working with your hands or doing anything else in daily life, then consider getting an ergonomic device.
Most items are relatively cheap, and they can really improve your daily life by reducing the strain needed to complete the activity. Just try one out, and you will see how much they can improve your life.