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5 Tools to Prevent Laptop-Related Injuries and Eye Strain

Folks, a reader sent me an e-mail suggesting an article idea. I found that they had pretty well written out a whole article, so I asked permission to share it with you “as is”. Aplus Computer Aid has me jumping lately, so, here it is… (I particularly like #3..)

5 Tools to Prevent Laptop-Related Injuries and Eye Strain

The increased use of laptops has resulted in greater computer-related injuries. Ergonomics experts warn about laptop related injuries. Laptops are inherently non-ergonomic because keyboard and monitor are fixed together – if the keyboard is in a suitable position for the user, the screen is not and if the screen is optimal the keyboard isn’t. In addition, the portability of laptops makes it worse by allowing the user to use it anywhere in bed and on the floor in all kinds of incorrect postures under a poor lighting condition.

Users are more vulnerable to computer related injuries and health problems such as Repetitive Strain Injury, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, eye strain, blurred vision and back pain when they are using a laptop than a desktop computer. You may want to take additional safety precautions and tools when you’re using a laptop. The five following tools help you prevent injuries and enhance productivity while using a laptop.

1. Text-to-mp3 conversion tool. You can use text-to-mp3 software to convert long documents, emails and blog articles to mp3 files, which you can listen while resting eyes, commuting or doing chores. Here are some free online text to mp3 file converters. www.vozme.com (choose Female voice option for better sound quality). SpokenText offers both free online conversion and a Firefox plug-in at www.spokentext.net (requires a registration). Another alternative is Next2Go www.text2go.com (US$25)

2. Speech recognition. You can control the computer and browse the web or have your computer compose email or write a document with your voice instruction while resting your hands and even eyes. Windows Vista and 7 have built-in speech recognition function. www.youtube.com/watch?v=GuAH1WzVkEI&NR=1 (demo), and www.youtube.com/watch?v=XLj4k3x0E0E (demo)

3. Break reminder. Taking breaks are essential in computer-related injury prevention. You can try break reminder software for laptop, which is uniquely optimized for laptop users. www.lalarm.com/en/health_alarm.htm (free for personal use)

4. OLED (organic light emitting diode). OLED is an eye-friendly and paper-like display technology. OLED doesn’t have eye-annoying backlight like LCD does. Laptops equipped with OLED are coming soon- finally next year. Meantime, anti-glare filter can be used to reduce glare from the glossy laptop screen.

5. External keyboard and mouse. An external keyboard can fix the laptop inherent ergonomic problem. It would be even better if the keyboard is ergonomically designed.

References:

· “Is your laptop damaging your health?” ~ CNET

· “When Your Laptop Is a Big Pain in the Neck” ~ The Wall Street Journal

· “Computer-related injuries” ~ Victoria State government (Australia)

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November 30, 2009 - Posted by | advice, computers | , , , , , , , , , , , ,

3 Comments »

  1. re:#3
    -there’s a Firefox Add-on:
    Consciousness Bell 1.1
    by Ronen Zilberman

    Plays a Tibetan bowl chime at random intervals to evoke mindfulness.
    [check out the author’s feedback dropdown box
    http://check4change.mozdev.org/no_wrap/cbell_feedback.html
    ]

    Like

    Comment by dar | November 30, 2009 | Reply

    • dar,
      I visited the Firefox Add-on pages and found Consciousness Bell, but was told that the add on was “experimental” and “incompatible” (I am running the latest [3.5.5]).
      I am not willing to “install it anyway”, but the option is there to do so — and I must say the description and reviews are intriguing…

      Those interested can check it out here, https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/4997#reviews

      Like

      Comment by techpaul | November 30, 2009 | Reply

  2. Gonna try Consciousness Bell 1.1

    Like

    Comment by Jakup Bjarkhamar | December 16, 2009 | Reply


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