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What is ergonomics in the real sense-- taking the ergonomic chair as an example

What is ergonomics in the real sense-- taking the ergonomic chair as an example



In recent years, words such as "ergonomics" and "ergonomics" have been frequently mentioned and widely used by businessmen in the consumer market. What is "ergonomics"? Could it be a marketing gimmick by businessman? To harvest our IQ tax? Before I make it clear what "ergonomics" is, I will give my answer "no".


The reason why people have such doubts is based on their lack of understanding of the subject of ergonomics, because there are not so many people specializing in ergonomics , and these professionals are mainly concentrated in aerospace, national defense science, industry and other fields.

The reason for writing this article is that at present, there is a lot of chaos in the ergonomic market, and some  so-called ergonomic products are good and some are bad,  I hope this article can let you understand what ergonomics is.


There are a lot of reviewing articles on the internet, and most of articles are very good articles, but there are inevitably all kinds of problems here. I will take some articles related to ergonomic chairs as an example to pick out some problems .At present, the main questions about the reviewing of ergonomic chairs  are:


I. Some article lacks a systematic theoretical basis.
2. some reviewing article lacks scientific basis

3.lack of professional equipment, and experimental results.


Before we talk more about ergonomics, let me simply insert a short paragraph here:

One: the so-called ergonomic concept must be strongly related to "health", not "comfort". At present, most of the articles and books related to ergonomics on the market often ignore the problem, and they emphasize "comfort" more than "health". Why? The reason is very simple, health is assessable, quantifiable dimension, and comfort is not quantifiable, so the importance of health is higher than comfort, but comfort is not the opposite of health. Ergonomics studies the maximum comfort of products under the premise of health protection. Leave the health, everything is out of the question.


Let me give you a simple example, such as  lying down, this posture makes almost everyone feel comfortable, of course, this comfort we professionally call instant comfort, that is, the moment comfort, or the use of a shorter moment to make you feel comfortable, but we all know that this posture can do great harm to the spine. Therefore, we think that this posture violates the principle of health. Then how to protect both health and comfort. This is a huge issue. Here are some answers to the questions in some of the current articles on ergonomic office chairs mentioned earlier:


1. lack of systematic theoretical basis.

many universities offer ergonomics or ergonomics-related courses, but most of them are taught to students majoring in design, and for only one semester, most of the teachers just teach little on this, the students just learn a rough concept. There is no in-depth explanation of this course.


Ergonomics itself involves a wide range of disciplines, and it is not a systematic problem that can be solved by a single major. The common disciplines involved are: physiology, psychology, anthropometry, behavior, anatomy, environmental biomechanics, computer science, system science and so on. Therefore, it has high requirements for the integration of specialties and the systematicness of knowledge.


2. Some reviewing articles lacks a systematic scientific basis, and the basic paradigm of ergonomic product research is to study people's physiological data, psychological needs, behavior habits, and develop products according to users' real behavior habits


For example, when we design ergonomic seating, we need to study the physiological structure of the human body. Of course, the focus of the study is on the human spine. We found that, as we were originally quadrupeds, the spine is our "backbone". After we learned to walk upright, the spine changed from resistance to tension to compression, thus forming a natural "S" shape to ease gravity from the earth. Of course, the pressure on the spine varies with different postures. We see that the spine consists of 7 cervical vertebrae, 12 thoracic vertebrae, 5 lumbar vertebrae, five-in-one sacrum and a four-in-one coccyx. However, with the development of society, we have not yet had time to fully adapt to walking upright, the new way of life and work, and the change of our common posture, we spend about 1/3 of every day adopting a body posture that we are not familiar with-"sitting" (working at the office, playing with mobile phones, watching TV on the sofa, traveling, etc.).


Through the study of the spine, we find that no matter what posture the human body is in, we must first protect its original natural physiological curve, because this is the result of our human evolution over thousands of years. The seat is designed for the posture of "sitting", so it needs to protect our normal physiological curve when we use it.


To test whether a chair conforms to ergonomics, we have to  focus on eight aspects from four dimensions, that is, health, comfort, handling and environmental friendliness.

A total of 410 indicators have to be tested
Finally, it can be concluded whether this chair is ergonomic or not


3.  Lack of professional instruments and equipment, there is no data as experimental results. 


Through the systematic theoretical guidance to fully understand the physical needs of users, establish a set of scientific testing process and evaluation system, and then be tested by professional instruments. Relatively rigorous experimental results are obtained. This is the complete process of whether a chair is ergonomic or not.

Finally, ergonomic products are not a marketing gimmick for merchants,  On the whole, there are still many excellent ergonomic products on the market.

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