Differences in posture kinematics between using a tablet, a laptop, and a desktop computer in sitting and in standing Academic Article uri icon


  • BACKGROUND:Alternative methods of accessing the internet and performing computing-related work tasks are becoming common, e.g., using tablets or standing workstations. Few studies examine postural differences while using these alternative methods. OBJECTIVE:To assess neck and upper limb kinematics while using a tablet, laptop and desktop computer (sitting and standing). METHODS:Differences in neck flexion/extension, lateral flexion, rotation; elbow flexion/extension; wrist flexion/extension, radial/ulnar deviation; and shoulder elevation in 30 participants were assessed in four conditions, three in sitting (tablet, laptop and desktop computer) and one in standing (desktop computer). Three-dimensional motion capture recorded posture variables during an editing task. Differences between variables were determined using one-way ANOVA with Bonferroni post-hoc tests. RESULTS:Compared to the desktop (sitting), tablet and laptop use resulted in increased neck flexion (mean difference tablet 16.92°, 95% CI 12.79-21.04; laptop 10.92, 7.86-13.97, P < 0.001) and shoulder elevation (right; tablet 10.29, 5.27-15.11; laptop 7.36, 3.72-11.01, P < 0.001). There were no meaningful posture differences between the sitting and standing desktop. CONCLUSIONS:These findings suggest that using a tablet or laptop may increase neck flexion, potentially increasing posture strain. Regular users of tablets/laptops should consider adjustments in their posture, however, further research is required to determine whether posture adjustments prevent or reduce musculoskeletal symptoms.


publication date

  • November 3, 2018

published in