Cricking your neck with your portables

With more and more of our daily computing going portable with laptops, tablets and smartphones, we are paying less attention to the ergonomics of these devices. That is, we don’t paying any attention to how our arms and hands, neck and eyes, back and hips, are oriented as we use these portable devices. And, here I sit on the couch typing on a laptop, looking down at the screen with my hands a tad too high and my wrists actually resting on laptop metal.

Watch how most people use laptops, tablets and smartphones, they bend their head down quite a bit, even more than you would just to read a book. Laptops can often be attached to a second monitor, one that is at a better height for your head to not bend down. Even better, you can add an external keyboard, maybe even one that has that slightly curved placement of the keys that may help reduce carpal tunnel. Then you can place this keyboard in the more correct position to align your shoulders, arms and wrists. This would be especially important if you use your laptop for more than fifteen minutes at a time, the recommend time to take a break to look up and move around.

For those long bouts of time spent working on a tablet, like when you are watching movies, you should prop it up, and you should do the same with smartphones. If you then complain that you can’t type on the screen as well, consider a small Bluetooth keyboards.

Since I can’t really draw a good picture with just words, you should search for terms like laptop or tablet ergonomics. For specifics on the iPhone or iPad, use iPhone or iPad ergonomics, and many of the same ideas would apply to other smartphones.

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