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Sensitivity for pressure difference on the ischial tuberosity

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Although research on sitting and sitting postures has been done for decades, the field of the subjective feeling of comfort or discomfort during sitting is still an unexplored field. On the basis of those studies some manufacturers claim enhanced subjective comfort because of pressure-relieving qualities of the seat cushions. The question is: does a relatively small pressure reduction enhance comfort? Before that question can be answered, the sensitivity for pressure differences applied to the skin must first be determined. The aim of this study was therefore, to determine the sensitivity of the ischial tuberosity for pressure difference in a healthy population. For this study five males and five females aged between 19 and 30 years with no exercise-induced muscle ache were selected. The (Δa) was determined for which stimulus (a + Δa) was judged as exceeding stimulus (a) in 50% of the trials. This value was called (Δa0.5) and was determined with an adapted simple up – down method with forced choice. Two different values for (a) were used: (a) = 13.3kPa and (a) = 26.5kPa and the pressure was applied with two different contact surface with diameters of 10mm and 20mm. For (a) = 26.5kPa and d = 10mm a Δa0.5 = 2.7kPa was found. For (a) = 26.5kPa and d = 20mm a Δa0.5 = 3.5kPa was found. For (a) = 13.3kPa and d = 20mm a Δa0.5 = 1.9kPa was found.
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Keywords: Comfort; Design guidelines; Method; Office chair; Seat

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering, Department of Applied Ergonomics and Design, Delft University of Technology, Landbergstraat 15, 2628 CE, Delft, The Netherlands 2: Faculty of Medicine, Department of Biomedical Physics and Technology, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Publication date: June 1, 2005

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