Laptop – a personal computer with a clamshell form factor. In simpler words, a portable computer.
As mobility increased along with the communication technology, usage of laptops increased and around 2010, the sale of laptops surpassed the sale of desktops.
What was once an expensive IT instrument reserved only for senior executives has become a necessity for students and professionals alike. The sheer freedom to carry it along, work on the go in a plane, car or train, use anywhere – on the desk, bed, sofa or floor has completely tilted the balance in favour of laptops.
Let us go back a little bit
Before laptops started to become a device for general use
- They were quite heavy, so the portability was also limited.
- Since they were expensive, not every household or employee would have them.
- Internet was not in the ‘air’ meaning, one had to sit at a dedicated place (often at a work station) with a slow speed DSL connection.
- TVs were still the devices where movies/videos would get played
- Lastly, the tech hadn’t evolved to the current state, so it was not required to spend so many hours with a laptop getting lion’s share of your lap.
But, in the last 20 years or so, a lot has changed in the manner and duration in which laptops are used, but, what has not changed is the fundamental design of this device.
That is where the problem arises!
What was developed for intermittent use has now become a mainstay of daily work & education. This has forced the users to get into acrimonious postures which are damaging the musculoskeletal and nervous framework of the human body. Bent neck, truncated shoulders, hunched back, pronated arms are some of those postures, which themselves are now, referred to as disorders. One such term iHunch (also known as Forward Head Posture (FHP)) was coined to cite a postural disorder.
Research has also shown that when, compared to a desktop, while using a laptop
- Forward tilting of the neck is higher by 8º when the laptop is placed on a desk
- 14º excess forward head tilt when the laptop is resting on your lap
- Neck flexion is more by ~6º when the laptop is resting on a desk
A simple reading of these numbers above is enough to realize the postural issues with laptop use.
In addition, close distance viewing of the screen and that too at uncomfortable angles also leads to adverse impact on eyesight and causes eye fatigue.
So what is the way out?