Development of a Structured Protocol

Bryan Roberts, Ashley Gray, Francesco Bertiato , Paolo Benvenuti , Silvano Zanuso, Ross Weir and Mike Caine

Integrated media screens on cardiovascular (CV) exercise equipment have the potential to increase both adherence and effort of exercising participants. However, watching and interacting with media screens is challenging on CV equipment due to conflicting ergonomic needs of ‘best’ placement for viewing and touching activities. Scientific evaluation is lacking on what is now considered a ‘must have’ feature on modern exercise equipment. The purpose of this study was to develop a protocol for assessing the ergonomics of fixed screens on CV equipment. Fixed screen position preference, based on users’ touching and viewing experience, was compared between 3 methods based on 1 -previous literature including EN ISO 11064-4:2004, 2 - by the user during testing using a free-moving screen, and 3 –the sponsoring company’s settings. The study investigated screen height, angle and distance running on a treadmill and cycling on a stationary upright cycle. Seven recreationally active adults, (mean ± SD; 28 ± 6yrs) were selected based on a representative range of eye heights (1st, 29th, 50th, 82nd and 97th).Each subject completed 6 bouts of 5-min exercise on each respective cardiovascular device comprising the 3 different treadmill or bike screen positions and 2 different user operating conditions. Participants interacted with games on-screen during or simply watched TV whilst wearing headphones. In the bike study, seat-height was based on Lemond’s coefficient (SICI, 2010) and Participants adopted three generic postural positions (normal, city and chrono). The order of conditions was counterbalanced within the subject group. In both the treadmill and bike study, 50th percentile Participants preferred the user defined screen positions, but there was little objection to the manufacturer’s fixed position which was preferred to the anthropometric devised position. The anthropometric devised screen position was deemed ‘unsuitable’ highlighting the lack of understanding in ergonomics for exercise specific requirements. Expert opinion from the manufacturer was within the resulting recommended screen heights, distances and angles recorded from this study. A novel ergonomic assessment method was successfully developed to best understand user preference of fixed touch-screen position when exercising on a treadmill and upright bike with the aim of ‘best’ placing a fixed touch-screen position for 50th percentile eye-height user group. Future studies can employ the principles used in this study and develop this field of ergonomics with the ultimate aim of improving user experience when using exercise equipment.