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The boundaries for joint angles of isocomfort for sitting and standing males based on perceived comfort of static joint postures

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This study presents data for the joint angles of isocomfort (JAI) in sitting and standing males based on perceived comfort ratings for static joint postures maintained for 60 s. The JAI value was defined as a boundary indicating joint deviation (an angle) from neutral posture, within which the perceived comfort for different body joint postures is expected to be the same. An experiment for quantifying perceived comfort ratings was conducted using the free modulus method of magnitude estimation. Based on experimental results, regression equations were derived for each joint posture, to represent the relationships between different levels of joint deviation/joint posture and corresponding normalized comfort scores. The JAI values were developed for nine verbal categories of joint comfort. The JAIs with the marginal comfort levels, one of the nine verbal categories used, for most joint postures around the wrist, elbow, neck and ankle were similar to the maximum range of motion (ROM) values for these joints. However, the JAIs with the marginal comfort category for back and hip postures were much smaller than the maximum ROM values for these joints. There were no significant differences in JAI expressed in terms of the percentage of the corresponding maximum ROM values between sitting and standing postures. The relative 'marginal comfort index', defined as the percentage of JAIs for the marginal comfort relative to the corresponding maximum ROM values, for the hip was the smallest among all joints. This was followed, in an increasing order of the marginal comfort index, by the lower back and shoulder, while the marginal comfort index for the elbow joint was the largest. The results of this study suggest that static postures maintained for 60 s cause greater discomfort for the hip joint than for the other joints studied, and less discomfort for the elbow than for the other joints. The data about JAIs can be used as guidelines for enhancing postural comfort when designing a variety of human-machine tasks where static postures cannot be eliminated.
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Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: 1: Department of Industrial Engineering, Keimyung University, 1000 ShindangDong, Dalseo-Gu, Taegu 704-701, Korea 2: Center for Industrial Ergonomics, Room 445, Lutz Hall, University of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky 40292, USA

Publication date: May 20, 2001

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