Posted by: ugleepen | March 11, 2017

Researcher Awarded Grant to Study Workplace Ergonomics

mikeholmes-1600x1188The Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) announced it has awarded Michael Holmes, assistant professor in Ontario’s Brock University’s Department of Kinesiology, a grant of nearly $100,000 for equipment purchases from its John R. Evans Leaders Fund.

Michael Holmes is determined to make work a safer place by studying how people sit, stand and use their muscles on the job.

To do that, however, he needs high-tech machines to help him track muscle activity and body movements.

With the money, Holmes will be purchasing three sophisticated devices to create the new Neuromechanics and Ergonomics Lab at Brock.

Among the equipment is a motion capture system. Similar to what’s used in the development of gaming, animation and cinema, nearly a dozen cameras will record research participants’ postures and body movements as they perform a variety of simulated workplace tasks.

Another piece of equipment is the haptic wrist robot, a one-of-a-kind device that is unique to Canada. Similar to a joystick, the device pushes back when a person tries to move it.

“This allows us to look at how the forearm muscles control the hand,” says Holmes.

The third piece of equipment is an electromyography system, or EMG, which evaluates and records electrical activity produced by skeletal muscles.

“This helps us to understand how the muscles generate the movements captured by our cameras,” says Holmes.

Holmes explains the combination of the three machines will give him and his research team a complete picture of workplace movement.

“We’ll understand what the muscles do, how people move and what sort of forces they’re interacting with.”

This knowledge, in turn, can be used to better design workplace tools and objects, or change workstations so that workers “interact with the tools differently” to prevent workplace injuries, he says.

“This research will lead to workplace and tool design strategies that make occupational tasks safer and more efficient,” says Holmes. “It will impact the lives of working people everywhere, because work shouldn’t hurt.”

Source: Brock University Media Relations

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