How innovation has pushed ergonomics beyond efficiency

Image: pexels

Ergonomics is a science that examines the interactions between humans and the objects they use. This involves designing and arranging objects so that humans can interact with them as efficiently and safely as they can.

The practice of ergonomics is particularly important in the workplace, and through things like adjustable desk chairs and keyboard wrist rests, employers provide safer and more efficient environments for their employees. In addition to reducing injuries and improving overall safety, workplace ergonomics can increase productivity by 11 percent on average. And since ergonomic practices improve the quality of an office environment, this often results in happier employees.   

So if our workplaces are becoming more and more optimized, why can’t we think about the rest of our daily activities in the same way?

Ergonomics began as a way to bring more safety and efficiency into people’s lives, but modern technology has allowed for innovation to play a role in ergonomics and extend the practice to our homes and everyday lives. Companies are making an effort to create products that provide unique and valuable experiences for consumers. Because oftentimes, these experiences are so common in our day-to-day lives that we forget we could be optimizing them.  

Automatic optimal lighting 

Something you might not think about when it comes to ergonomics is your environment’s lighting. But poor lighting, especially when looking at a computer screen for long periods of time, can cause strain to your eyes and bodies. F.lux is a software that automatically adjusts your computer’s screen color to its most optimal setting. The technology makes your computer screen warm at night and like sunlight during the day, so that your screen always adapts to your surroundings no matter what time it is. 

Image: pexels

Personalized posture improvement

When you can’t avoid sitting for long periods of time, it’s important to maintain good posture so that your neck and back muscles don’t suffer unnecessary strain. Upright makes this easier by providing immediate posture feedback. Simply place the wearable device on your back and it will send gentle vibrations to remind you to sit up straight if you are slouching. You can also track your progress with their app and set daily goals for yourself through a personalized training program.

A desk that adjusts for you

Whether you sit at a desk all day at work or find yourself sitting for long periods of time at a table or desk at home, we spend a lot of our lives sitting. Research has found that standing for a few hours each day helps reduce the risk of things like heart disease, back pain, and obesity. While taking a break to walk around the office or simply stand up can help, technology has fueled even more possible solutions. 

Companies like Evodesk are creating mechanical standing desks that are designed with the user in mind. With the press of a button you can choose from more than 250 different sitting and standing positions to find the one that suits your needs in that moment. The desk moves one and a half inches per second, so you’ll never feel like you’re waiting for the technology to catch up to you.

Image: volvo

A car made with you in mind

We usually think of ergonomics in the office or at home, but these practices can be extended to our cars as well. Given that ergonomics is all about maximizing the interaction between people and their environment, vehicles are the next frontier for ergonomics powered by connected technology.   

The new Volvo XC60 was designed with human-centric features that make driving more efficient and safe without sacrificing luxury and style. The center display makes navigation and entertainment seamless with intuitive control options and a larger display so you don’t need to scroll to see the details of your route. And the car’s seats were designed by orthopedic surgeons to complement the human form. The seat cushions are adjustable so that they maximize comfort and support, and were designed to absorb energy and thus protect your spine in the event of an accident or sudden movement. 

The XC60 also features an entire suite of safety technologies, called IntelliSafe, which makes driving more comfortable and helps prevent accidents. City Safety is at the core of this safety technology, identifying other vehicles, pedestrians, cyclists and large animals ahead of you, warning you of any hazards, and braking the car automatically if you don’t react in time. There are also automatic steering adjustments and braking to help avoid collisions with oncoming traffic and prevent your car from leaving the road. The car’s Blind Spot Information System alerts you of vehicles alongside you, and its Driver Alert Control recognizes if you’re tired or distracted and may suggest taking a break.

Even though the study of ergonomics began with the simple goal of making people’s lives more efficient and safe, innovative products, devices, and vehicles like the Volvo XC60 use technology to elevate a user’s experience. From office furniture to household products to the cars we drive, technology is constantly changing how we think about the items we interact with every day—and how those interactions can be as seamless as possible.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/11/22/innovative-ergonomic-products/