With good, thought out design, objects can be made to help the body to do tasks effortlessly and without strain. By having grip points where the hand naturally falls, a product can feel like an extension of the arm. The use of plastics materials means that an ergonomic object can be easily moulded with smooth or textured surfaces.
The ergonomic rollerball pen (1) is designed to promote the correct hand posture for a right-handed person. The design incorporates special grip zones, which ensure a suitable hand position, and a curved body which rests on the side of the hand helping to make it a comfortable pen to use for long periods. The Evoluent vertical mouse (2) enables the arm to rest in a neutral handshake position. This position prevents forearm twisting and helps to relieve the wrist pain that can be associated with using an ordinary computer mice.
Both the pen and the mouse are ergonomically designed but hold the hand in one position without any free movement. Alternative, freer, uses of ergonomic designs can also allow the body to find its own comfortable unrestricted position. As a sports drink bottle, the Aquila Aquagym bottle (3) has a shaped and textured form to increase grip, but has a less
prescriptive shape allowing the hand to move across the bottle rather than be in a fixed position.
In the same way the Hokki stool (4) was designed as a flexible, physical learning aid to counter traditional views that educational seating should be rigid, without any form for free movement. With supporting research suggesting that stillness of the body for long periods can actually inhibit concentration, the convex base encourages the body to move in all directions leading to healthier sitting, and reduced tension and mental fatigue. The designer, John Harding, is an AUB alumnus having studied H.N.D. Industrial Design.