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Dave AndrewsHuman kinetics professor Dave Andrews works on a laptop in his office. The ergonomics researcher is recruiting participants for a study to determine whether the way people interact with their mobile devices may be hurting them.

Mobile device users required for ergonomics research

An ergonomics researcher is reminding people from around campus who work regularly with cell phones, tablets and laptops that they may be eligible to participate in a research project to determine if the way they interact with their devices may actually be hurting them.

“There are some specific risk factors associated with mobile devices that aren’t accounted for with our current method of assessment,” said human kinetics professor Dave Andrews, who is recruiting people for the study.

Andrews was part of a previous study team that developed an ergonomic checklist of risk factors to determine whether how people are positioned at their office computer work stations contributes to problems like pain or discomfort in the back, upper extremities and neck.

However the method for that study, which involved graduate students visiting people in their offices to conduct ergonomic assessments, didn’t account for the rapid growth in mobile technology and the specific risk factors associated with those devices, he said.

Research assistants working on the new study will visit participants in their offices, observe them at work, ask them to demonstrate how they interact with their mobile devices, and ask them if they experience any discomfort. The visit should take any about 30 minutes.

Current staff or faculty members who use at least one mobile device to do their job, and have not had an ergonomics assessment of their computer workstation done by someone in kinesiology within the last year are eligible.

Participants will receive a complimentary computer workstation evaluation, and tips on how to adjust their existing computer workstation in order to remain healthy, comfortable and productive in the workplace.

Interested people should contact Cory Thuy at thuyc@uwindsor.ca to schedule an assessment.

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