ECI Assignment 1

Use it only as a reference! 

BACKGROUND

It is a common sight to see posters promoting practices of good sitting posture in office environments, attempting to maximize office ergonomics. However, the prevailing issue of lower back pains show that such forms of ergonomics education have been ineffective. Today’s workplace health and safety committee members are constantly under pressure to find alternative measures to curb such issues.

According to [3] The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association (JAOA), the medical cost to treat/address lower back pain is estimated to be between USD$369 to USD$760 per person, depending on individual medical needs. With minimal action directed at reducing workplace health expenses, this monetary cost will continue to increase along with current inflation rates.

 

PROBLEM

As the working population ages, more workplace health-related incidents and increased occurrence of lower back pains may result. This would highly likely cause the overall employee satisfaction to gradually decline. In view of this, educating workers on the benefits and drawbacks of office ergonomics is no doubt an important step in reducing workplace health concerns. However, this alone is not sufficient to tackle the problem of bad posture.

All in all, the above factors poses a bleak future for most companies. It will come as no surprise when the number of concerns are increasingly being raised both by employees and the public for greater intervention for office healthcare. Companies may as a result be pressured to put time, effort, and money into improving workplace health and safety, in an effort to safeguard their reputation.

 

SOLUTION

The Relaxer is designed to have its frame automatically remodeled for the user to sit with the appropriate posture. It addresses 2 key issues – the increasing demand for better office ergonomics, and a way to minimise the negatives effects of bad posture. By adjusting the chair into a comfortable resting position for the user, it creates a better working posture for employees.

  1. The Relaxer detects the user’s bone structure, specifically the spinal cord, via a multitude of in-built pressure-activated sensors.
  2. Details of the user’s spinal position is sent to a microprocessor, which determines the suitable shape of the chair.
  3. The microprocessor sends ‘instructions’ to an integrated skeletal frame embedded under the surface of The Relaxer.
  4. The skeletal frame adjusts itself to fit the specifications provided by the sensors.
  5. An on-going feedback loop (consisting of the sensors (INPUT), the microprocessor (PROCESSER), and the integrated skeletal frame (OUTPUT)) is created and maintained to respond to changes in the user’s spinal position.

 

Benefits

The Relaxer aims to not only provide office workers with comfort, but also ensure a healthy sitting posture. It will help in preventing lower-back pains and other posture-related health issues.

By addressing these issues, [4] companies also enjoy an increase in employee’s satisfaction that has been proven to have a direct impact on productivity, profitability and turnover rate.

 

Implementation

We will be collaborating with OSIM, as producing The Relaxer can be costly. Furthermore, OSIM, a global leader with extensive experience in healthy lifestyle products, is very capable of taking The Relaxer to greater heights.

Cost/Budget

Microprocessor: $45

Device component: $150

Miscellaneous: $105

Total Device prototype cost: $300

 

 

Conclusion

The increasing health risk of LBP on office workers as we face an aging population in our society have amounted to heavy medical burdens on both the companies and office workers. Therefore, this chair is catered to tackling the root cause of LBP and the possibility of burdening the younger workforce with medical finances brought on by the aging population.

 

References

[1] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3036671/

[2] http://www.spine-health.com/wellness/ergonomics/office-chair-how-reduce-back-pain

[3] http://jaoa.org/article.aspx?articleid=2093736

[4] The Importance of Employee Satisfaction -Kristen Gregory