Electromyography (EMG) technology, a cornerstone in sports science and ergonomics, is revolutionising our understanding of muscle activity. By detecting electrical signals produced by muscle tissues during contraction, EMG provides invaluable insights into muscle performance and fatigue. This technology has become instrumental in designing ergonomic equipment.
A study by Bessone and Adamsen (2023) brings this technology to the fore.
Their research, set in the medical field of endoscopy, focuses on the physical impact of the weight of gastroscopes on endoscopistsamong whom 37-89% of practitioners surveyed have had a history of muscle and joint disease, causing mostly hand numbness, tenosynovitis and carpal tunnel syndrome. They compared muscle strain while operating lightweight, single-use gastroscopes (0,6 kg) against heavier (1,4 kg), reusable ones.
To conduct this study, the researchers employed Myontec ErgoSleeve with EMG sensors to measure forearm muscle activity and both elbow and wrist joint loads in participants (N=14) using both types of gastroscopes. By analysing the muscle load (%MVC - percentage of maximal voluntary contraction), the study sheds light on the ergonomic design of medical tools.
Myontec ErgoSleeve is easy-to-use smart clothing with embedded EMG and IMU sensors. This allowes accurate data collection especially in repetitive tests and large amount of subjects, without time-consuming preparation and signal processing.
The findings were clear: using lighter, single-use gastroscopes significantly reduced muscle load compared to the heavier, reusable models. This has profound implications for endoscopists, suggesting a potential reduction in fatigue, tremor, and musculoskeletal injuries.
This study exemplifies the effectiveness of easy-to-use ErgoSleeve with EMG measurements in ergonomic assessments. By quantitatively evaluating muscle strain, EMG technology aids in designing tools and equipment that enhance user comfort and performance, thereby reducing the risk of injury.
In conclusion, the study by Bessone and Adamsen not only advances ergonomic design in the medical field but also underscores the broader significance of wearable EMG technology. As we continue to explore the intersections of human physiology and tool use, EMG stands as a vital tool in enhancing occupational health and athletic performance.
Find the published abstract of the study below.
Bessone V, Adamsen S. Single-use gastroscope reduces endoscopist muscle load compared to reusable gastroscope. United European Gastroenterology Journal 2023; 11 (Supplement 8).