Buckle, P.1, Haslam, R. A.2 Woods, V.1 and Hastings, S.2 1. University of Surrey; 2. Loughborough University
Input devices to computers have evolved rapidly in recent years. Whilst the original introduction of computers to offices provoked concern with health risks associated with prolonged, high frequency keyboard use, there is now increasing concern over the use of non-keyboard input devices (NKID). The widespread development of graphical computer interfaces has led to a proliferation of devices that enable the user to move the cursor around the screen. The devices developed include the socalled mouse, tracker balls, joysticks, and increasingly the use of touch screens. The use of NKID is now spreading out of the office and increasing in industrial and manufacturing applications. There appears to be a surprisingly limited literature pertaining to these tools, given their widespread use in offices and elsewhere.
A small number of studies have considered potential health and other risks associated with their use. Thus for example Fogleman and Brogmus ( 1995) reported that mouse related worker compensation claims were increasing. Hagberg ( 1995), Karlqvist et al ( 1994) and Harvey and Peper ( 1997) have all examined the physiological implications of mouse use and have reported higher than would be expected levels of discomfort in a number of body parts. Substituting other NKID for the mouse may improve some aspects of physical loading, whilst increasingly placing stress elsewhere e.g. the likely increase in physical load on the shoulder girdle involved in touch screen applications.
The study reported in this paper is the first in a series that has been designed to investigate the extent of use and problems associated with NKID. Whilst the full study involves an epidemiologic, laboratory and participatory study design, the focus of this paper is a survey of a number of organizations in order to ascertain the scope and scale of the problems. The study is being undertaken at the