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Changing workstyle : healthy behavior through feedback signals during computer work

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Author: Korte, E.M. de · Kraker, H. de · Bongers, P.M. · Lingen P. van
Publisher: Elsevier
Place: Oxford
Institution: TNO Kwaliteit van Leven
Source:Pikaar, R.N.Koningsveld, E.A.P.Settels, P.J.M., IEA 2006, 16th World Congress on Ergonomics "Meeting diversity in ergonomics"
Identifier: 278257
Keywords: Workplace · Arbeidsproductiviteit


The aim of this study was to test whether feedback signals based on continuous monitoring of specific behaviour during computer work had effects on healthy work style of computer workers, without interrupting the work task. For this purpose an experiment was conducted with an intelligent computer mouse. Computer users frequently hover over their mouse maintaining an extended wrist posture on or above the mouse even when it’s not operated. This leads to unnecessary sustained muscle tension of the forearm muscles. A tactile, vibrating feedback signal in the computer mouse reminds the user to let go of the mouse. The effects of the tactile feedback on reduction of hovering behaviour and consequently on changes in muscle load, productivity, and user friendliness were determined. Fifteen subjects participated. The feedback signal effectively decreased hovering behaviour with 35%, led to a more dynamic activation pattern of the extensor muscles of the forearm and showed a positive effect on the distribution of micro-pauses. The overall opinion of the feedback signal for future use was rated somewhat variable. The use of a mouse with a tactile vibrating feedback signal seems promising for preventing arm complaints and feedback signals in general seem effective for changing work style regarding interaction with the workplace.