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The human body is an amazing machine.

Since the first primitive man stood upright and proclaimed his dominance over the Earth this fact has been apparent. What have aided the humanmachine are the tools that man has created. In fact, it is the use of tools that sets the divide for when man became more than just a remarkably intelligent ape and is set forth as Homo Hablis, the first man. As man has come up through the ages he has created tools to aid him in his work and to increase his productivity. As he sought to improve his comfort and efficiency through leather wrapped handles, or any number of other implementations, he stumbled upon the first ergonomics. The term ergonomics, according to the website of the Japanese Ergonomics Society, is credited to the polish scholar Wojciech Jastrzębowski . The word “ergonomics” is a combination of two Greek words, ergo and nomos. Ergo is the word for work or labor and nomos is the word for natural laws therefore ergonomics are the ways to work according to the natural laws. Ergonomics is a way of optimizing the design of an object so that it conforms and accents the way the body naturally functions with the purpose of decreasing fatigue and increasing efficiency. As the study of ergonomics has become more and more defined and studied it has found its way into the input devices of video games and computer peripherals. While many gamers do not think of the design of their controllers, keyboards and computer mice in terms of ergonomics it is most assuredly a defining principle of design that permeates every level of gaming hardware from the tip of the Dualshock 2’s joystick to the bottom of the most elite gaming chair. As discussed ergonomics is the study of decreasing fatigue and increasing efficiency. This is done through knowledge of how the human body functions. This knowledge allows designers to create devices according to the way the body naturally wants to operate and this in turn decreases injuries and increases the effectiveness of the device. What principles are essential to the design of game input devices though? On his website, Dan MacLeod, an independent ergonomics consultant, discusses ten of

Static load. quick and forceful. neutrality and static load. both serve the purpose of increasing the comfort of the user as well as the efficiency with which they can use the devices. Therefore. Repetitive Strain Injuries according to an article by Christian Nordqvist published on Medical News Today. The question then arises as to why these principles are important in the development of game hardware devices specifically. is the stress of holding and object in the same position for an extended period of time. The first reason ergonomics matter to gaming specifically is that it minimizes physical fatigue to the body. It may seem strange to have a discussion of physical fatigue and how it relates games especially due to the fact that society at large sees games as a sedentary and low impact activity. An example of one to these neutral positions that appears in gaming is how an object relates to the hand. These injuries are caused not by a sudden tearing or popping as with more common injuries but through the strain caused by repetitive motions over time which act in much the same way as erosion slowly tearing . according to MacLeod. If a player is expected to interface with a system for any amount of time the input devices must be designed with this idea of static load taken into account. These two principles of ergonomic design. the center of the palm is not truly perpendicular to the forearm instead it forms an arc that wraps around the muscles of the thumb. The first of these principles is that the body is less fatigued in neutral positions.the basic principles of ergonomics and their applications. Two of these principles that have made prevalent contributions to video game hardware design are the concepts of neutral positions and the reduction of static load. Game controllers are no exception. Neutral positions are the positions that the body naturally lies in. If studied on an open hand. In gaming however actions can be repetitive. The fatigue that is placed on the body by poor ergonomics can cause what are called. The second principle that has influenced the design of video game hardware is the idea of static load. for any item to naturally fit into the hand and keep the wrist neutral it must utilize and account for this angle.

Lastly ergonomics have shaped gaming by allowing players to enhance their already keen abilities further. The controller of the NES was not ergonomic in the least with its rectangular shape and hard buttons. If you fast forward just ten years though it can be seen that Super Mario 64 for the Nintendo 64 took nearly twenty hours to complete and the controller also responded to this increase in game size by replacing the hard directional pad with a more ergonomic joystick and revolutionizing the shape of the controller by using the natural contours of the hand to make it a more comfortable controller and decreasing the static load on the hand meaning that players could play longer and consume more content. As players began to have their skills tested and sought to test the skills of their peers they naturally sought advantages. If one takes a look at the evolution of games and the controllers they developed on there is a pattern that develops. This is very important in gaming where at a professional level players repeat motions rapidly and quickly. This length of gameplay would not have been nearly as enjoyable without the integration of ergonomic principles. In Korea where games like Starcraft elevate gamers to a similar status to that of rockstars players can perform upwards of 300-400 actions per minute over the course of matches that can last for anywhere between thirty minutes and an hour. a website that lists average completion times for games. The second reason that ergonomics matter is that without ergonomics being integrated into the input devices of games the growth of the industry would have been stunted. In many of the fast paced multiplayer games users had only split seconds to enact their plans and execute commands. This necessary integration was brought on through the advent of more competitive games. Ergonomics has enhanced these qualities by . For example. the original Super Mario Bros was released for the Nintendo Entertainment system in 1985 and according to howlongtobeat. because static load was less of an issue because the games even when played to completion were short.down the These repetitive actions build up the static load on the hands and without proper ergonomics cause injuries that can spell out the end of a season or even a career for a professional gamer. the game could be beaten in only an hour or an hour and a half.

Entire companies now specialize or have specialized departments just for gaming peripherals. reported a profit of $532 million dollars in the 2012 fiscal year.”… a wooden shell. according to The Centre of Computing History. By knowing and utilizing ergonomics in their products companies. our industry and our natural abilities allowing us to surpass the abilities that we viewed as pinnacle in much the same way that our ancient ancestors stepped forward to carve a new path in history with tools that bolster the greatest machines on Earth. From the beginning of tool making and ergonomics man has sought his own comfort and productivity. Especially in games it is easy to see the benefits that ergonomic integration has had on our health. One of the largest of these companies. As user interfaces and computers began to advance users needed more and more precision from their devices developing the “Ball mouse” and then the optic mouse that is now the standard. Ourselves. like Razer and Logitech.streamlining the efficiencies of game input devices. In recent years the study of ergonomics has changed the way we approach problems of efficiency and comfort. . Now gaming peripherals have become synonymous with precision and efficiency. The ergonomic evolution of the mouse shows this off very well. Other companies such as Razer have developed entire lines of products with the sole purpose being to increase the abilities of professional players through ergonomic design and integration. Logitech. have integrated buttons with adjustable speed. nothing more than . circuit board and two metal wheels that came into contact with the surface it was being used on. customizable layouts and additional buttons that naturally lie in the neutral position of the hand and in so doing have been able to boost the performance of their clientele and advance input technology to places that were thought unreachable even just a few years ago. When the original computer mouse was first invented in 1964 by Douglas Engelbart it was.

Web.d. 30 Jan.. 2012. 2013. 30 Jan. "HLTB .Logitech Announces Fourth Quarter and Full-Year Financial Results for FY 2012. 25 Apr.. 2013. Web.Works Cited "10 Principles of Ergonomics. n. "The History of the Computer Mouse . "Japan Ergonomics Society.How Long Is Super Mario Bros. Logitech. "What Is Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI)? What Causes Repetitive Strain Injury?" Medical News Today.Logitech Announces Fourth Quarter and Full-Year Financial Results for FY 2012. 2012. Christian." History of Ergonomics. N. Logitech. Nordqvist.Computing History. 2013. N." The History of the Computer Mouse .d. 2013. N. Web. MediLexicon International. Logitech .Computing History. 2013.How Long Is Super Mario 64?" HLTB . 2010. 2013. 30 Jan. 19 Jan..d. Logitech .How Long Is Super Mario 64? Howlongtobeat. . 29 Jan. Web.? Howlongtobeat." 10 Principles of Ergonomics. n. 30 29 Jan. 30 Jan.How Long Is Super Mario 2013. 2012.p. "HLTB . Web. Web.p.?" HLTB . Web.p. n.