Biomechanics of the cervical region during use of a tablet computer

Grace Szeto, Pascal Madeleine, Kelvin Chi-Leung Kwok, Jasmine Yan-Yin Choi, Joan Hiu-Tung Ip, Nok-Sze Cheung, Jay Dai, Sharon Tsang

Research output: Contribution to book/anthology/report/conference proceedingArticle in proceedingResearchpeer-review


This study aimed to investigate the spinal muscle activity and postural variations across time in healthy young adults during a prolonged reading comprehension task using a tablet computer. Twenty healthy college students (10 males and 10 females; mean age = 21.5 ± 1.7 years) participated in this study. Subjects were seated on a standard office chair with adjustable height and allowed to move freely in their body postures during the 30-minute reading comprehension task. The subject was instructed to hold a Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7 (SM-T810) with both hands. Surface electromyography and spinal kinematics were recorded simultaneously. The amplitude probability distribution function (APDF) was computed for each 10 min trial of the muscle activity data and postural angle data respectively. Amplitude measures of muscle activity using 50 th%APDF and APDF range (difference between 90th% and 10th% APDF) were examined in 3 time phases (T1, T2, T3) of 10 min each. Postural variation (using zero crossing algorithm) was also analyzed. There was a significant increase in median muscle activity (50 th%APDF) of bilateral cervical erector spinae (CES) (left: p =.002; right: p =.002) and a decreasing trend in bilateral thoracic erector spinae (TES) (left: p =.053; right: p =.068) over time. Significant increase of cervical postural variation was also revealed across time (p = 0.001). Finally, sex differences regardless of time effect were shown, with females showing significantly higher left CES median muscle activity (p = 0.044) and muscle activity range (p = 0.047) when compared with males. Other muscles did not reveal such significant differences.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 20th Congress of the International Ergonomics Association (IEA 2018) - Volume V : Volume V: Human Simulation and Virtual Environments, Work With Computing Systems WWCS, Process Control
EditorsSebastiano Bagnara, Riccardo Tartaglia, Sara Albolino, Thomas Alexander, Yushi Fujita
Number of pages6
Publication date2019
ISBN (Print)978-3-319-96076-0
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-319-96077-7
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Event20th Congress of the International Ergonomics Association, IEA 2018 - Florence, Italy
Duration: 26 Aug 201830 Aug 2018


Conference20th Congress of the International Ergonomics Association, IEA 2018
SeriesAdvances in Intelligent Systems and Computing


  • Electromyography
  • Posture
  • Tablet computer

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