Non-invasive Real-time Assessment of Muscle Fatigue during Computer Use: Using Mouse Button-Click and Keystroke Durations
Kim, Jeong Ho
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Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) account for a large proportion of occupational injuries. As the computer has become ubiquitous in office work environments, so have computer-related MSDs. Since most work-related MSDs develop from the accumulation of micro trauma over moderate to long periods of time, early detection of physiological degradation, i.e. muscle fatigue, may help reduce the occurrence of MSDs. There are several laboratory-based assessment tools to measure muscle fatigue; however, due to their invasiveness, lack of portability and cost, these measurement tools may not be appropriate for measuring computer-related muscle fatigue in field-based or occupational settings. Some previous studies have shown that keystroke and mouse button-click durations may be influenced by muscle fatigue or physical load. Therefore, in the present study, I investigated whether the keystroke and mouse button-click durations were sensitive enough to indicate early stages of muscle fatigue development. Since keystroke and mouse button-click durations can be readily and non-invasively measured in real-time with simple computer monitoring software while subjects do their actual work, we may be able use a non-invasive computer monitoring software program to proactively detect when computer operators may be developing muscle fatigue which may be a precursor to the onset and development of a computer related MSD.