Biomechanics and Ergonomics of the Modern Office


Jack Dennerlein

Professor in the Department of Physical Therapy

Northeastern University


The field of ergonomics, in regards to the modern office, has progressed considerably over the past 20 years with the adoption of mobile computing technology and the increasing concern for sedentary behavior. During this period there are many strong examples of physical ergonomics that demonstrate how the design of input devices affect and can improve postural and biomechanical load of the upper extremity. For example, the design of pointing devices dictates their location within the workspace, which affects shoulder loads. Their design also dictates how hand and fingers grip and operate the devices, which affects the stresses in the tissues and muscles that articulate the hand. Examples of added adjustability (e.g. sit-stand stations to reduce sedentary behavior) impact on both physical and productivity issues. As we progress with more and more mobile technology, we add more and more variability into the physical interactions. Simple solutions that help us be hand free can also assist in providing opportunities for improving system performance and human wellbeing.

What Matters: Escaping the Dichotomy* to Explore the Duality** of Mind and MatterĀ 


John M. Flach

Professor of Psychology

Wright State University


This talk will explore the intersection of cognitive science and design to speculate on the nature of human experience. The over riding hypothesis is that experience is a joint or dual function of mind and matter. Thus, it requires constructs that span the gap created by the conventional mind/matter dichotomy to address the joint relations that shape the dynamics of experience. Building on intuitions from semiotics and system dynamics the talk will suggest three constructs: satisfying, specifying, and affording as the fundamental dimensions of ecological rationality (i.e., abduction). The argument will be made that the ultimate test of cognitive science will be its practical value for guiding the design of technologies that enhance human experience.

*dichotomy: a division or contrast between two things that are or are represented as being opposed or entirely different.

**duality -the quality or condition of being dual. dual – consisting of two parts, elements, or aspects.