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Ergonomics in Health Care - More than Safety and Comfort

by Joan Trombetti , Writer

Equipois Inc. has developed a "zero gravity" mechanical arm technology that holds tools and other payloads in order to increase worker productivity and reduce injuries.

The Equipois zeroG®
mechanical arm

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The zeroG was developed by Equipois in collaboration with inventor Garrett Brown. In the course of its market research, Equipois learned from numerous industry experts that certain activities requiring people to work for long periods with arms outstretched poses significant risk of shoulder and arm injuries. Such activities - like lengthy surgical or dental procedures and use of precision hand tools - can have very high injury rates and force employees to retire early due to injury, introducing enormous costs to employers and employees. Golden says, "In response to this need, we developed a prototype product, the zeroG, which supports the weight of the human arm, while allowing all required range and freedom of motion." Utilizing Equipois's patented zero gravity spring and cam-operated mechanical arm design, the zeroG will relieve the user of the burden of supporting his or her own arm without restricting freedom of motion. Initial target applications will focus on activities where the need to work with arms outstretched either poses significant risk of injury or significantly limits workers' stamina or precision. Candidates include dentists, dental hygienists, surgeons, surgical technicians and nurses. The zeroG could also assist people, who due to disability or injury, have limited muscle control.

Computer workstations

Now becoming common, mobile workstations that house a computer and a variety of other items needed by healthcare professionals allow the caregiver to bring their work with them wherever they go. Wall mounted solutions that can be folded or rotated out of the way when not in use are valuable assets at nurse and patient care stations where space is at a premium, and different caregivers use the same station at different times. "These examples protect providers by eliminating the need to carry heavy and awkward computers, improve space utilization and care delivery performance, and create a better customer/patient experience," says Dr. Budnick.
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