This study took a comprehensive approach to evaluating effects of using a notebook computer stand-alone or along with inexpensive peripheral input devices. The study examined effects on biomechanics, productivity, and discomfort, and considered the impact of both computer configuration and task performed. It was hypothesized that, in general, the stand-alone configuration would induce greater postural fixity and more non-neutral postures than configurations with peripheral input devices. Dependent measures included muscle activity, posture and posture variation/fixity, productivity, and subjective assessments of discomfort and preference. The data were generally consistent with the hypothesis, though some biomechanical advantages were identified for each configuration; specifics and exceptions are discussed, along with reasons for a general recommendation for the use of an external mouse, or mouse and keyboard (without number pad) when using a notebook computer for an extended period of time, as in a desktop replacement scenario.
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