Ergonomics in Unlikely Places.

Posted by: Mitchell H. Kirsch 0 comments

Think only desk jockeys need ergonomic chairs? Even Air Force flyboys are getting in on the act – according to AFLink, outfitters have added new ergonomic seats to AWACS aircraft.

I’m betting this is good news down on the Air Force barracks; operators aboard the AWACS-equipped E-3 Sentrys fly 12 to 14-hour missions at a stretch, which takes its toll on the body.

The old seat designs had been in place since the 1970s, the Stone Age as far as ergonomics is concerned. No lumbar support; no adjustment features; and the wrong kind of padding for long missions.

According to Paul Zauner, the manager in charge of the program switching the seats on the domestic AWACS fleet, operators have to keep stretching back muscles, resulting in “fatigue and greater inattention to scope activity.”

“The current E-3 seats are not designed for crew efficiency over long AWACS’ flight and mission profiles,” Zauner summarizes.

Not so with the new seats; the newly-installed ergonomic chairs aboard the AWACS fleet should alleviate back and neck stress for operators on each flight. 14 sets of seats have been installed so far on four airplanes; all 32 E-3s are expected to undergo this refit over the next year or so.     (read more)

Another unlikely area for ergonomics – gardening implements. Every serious gardener knows that their hobby isn’t exactly easy on the back, and one’s hands get punished quite a bit too.

Radius Garden’s innovative new ergonomic garden tools take care of all that – their proprietary curved Natural Radius Grip guides large muscles along the radius bone. The resulting stance puts the wrist in a neutral position, allowing the user to direct his strength more efficiently.

For more information on ergonomics in its most familiar context, it wouldn’t hurt to read up on our page on ergonomics.

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