Smartwatch Ergonomics and Other Safety Concerns

The launch of the Apple watch garnered much press and interest, but smartwatches, including those made by Asus, LG, Microsoft, Motorola, Pebble, Samsung, Sony, and others bring a new set of ergonomic and safety challenges.

Here are a few common sense approaches to smartwatch ergonomics and safety:smartwatch-braking-distance-STM.BRAKING.DISTANCE.08.03.15.mario_webresize

  • Do not check your texts or perform other functions on a smartwatch while driving.  Earlier this year, British consulting firm Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) and The Sunday Times found that drivers reading messages on a smartwatch take 36 percent longer to react to emergencies on the road than those using a smartphone without a Bluetooth hands-free device.  The study also provides evidence that smartwatches and smartphones are more distracting than having a conversation with a passenger.
  • Use effective security controls to protect data.  Data collected by wearable computers like a smartwatch may be confidential, private, and not for “public consumption.”  Although it’s straightforward to see the benefits of capturing detailed medical, health, fitness, lifestyle, daily routine, location (GPS and cameras), without the right security controls criminals may find ways to commit theft, fraud, identity theft, and other crimes against you.
  • Remove smartwatches, watches, and all wrist jewelry while keying or using a mouse.  In the Apple announcement, the company suggested that the “hourly reminder to be more active” will encourage healthy behavior.  Unfortunately if you are a regular keyboard and mouse user, watches and other jewelry can put pressure on the sensitive anatomy of the anterior portion of the wrist.  A smartwatch should be removed when using a keyboard, mouse, or other device that may position the anterior wrist against a surface.
  • If you add a smartwatch to your technology viewing, try to limit screen time to prevent eyestrain.  Some doctors believe that we are more at risk for certain eye diseases since the advent of computer screens.

For more information about smart technology, ergonomics, and safety, please see:

Driver Distractions: Why a Smartwatch Could Lead to a Crash

Driver Distractions: The Gadgets Most Likely to Cause an Accident

10 Tips for Keeping Your Data Safe in the Cloud