Research Areas

Our major research areas are injury prevention, product design and evaluation, and developing ergonomic guidelines. Our research has been applied to healthcare, office, and music sectors.

Injury Prevention

Systematic Evaluation of Patient Transfer Devices to Improve Musculoskeletal Health among Caregivers

Sponsor: NIOSH, Patient Positioning Systems, Northern Illinois University

The objective of this project is to evaluate the muscle activity and joint net torque in hand, shoulder, and low back during patient transfer using four different engineering controls: a conventional cotton draw sheet, friction-reducing slide sheet, friction-reducing slide board, and air-assisted transfer device. Expected outcome is to determine the most effective patient handling device improving the safety and health of caregivers and patients.

Product Design and Evaluation

The Effect of the Wearable Posture Sensor on Biomechanical Exposure of the Neck

The objective is to evaluate the effect of the wearable posture correction sensor on the changes of the behavior of office workers to set up the preferred workstation, and associated biomechanical exposures of the neck while sitting and standing.

Usability Evaluation of the French Door Refrigerator Handle

Sponsor: Samsung

The goal of this study is to evaluate the usability and biomechanical stress of the whole body while using the French door refrigerator handle of three doors and four doors models. The expected outcomes are:

  • The typical behavior of users to interact with different types of handles (recessed, bar, and showcase)
  • Optimal height of the recessed handle and
  • Optimal type of the recessed handle (bar, recessed handle with different clearances).

Ergonomic Evaluation of Classical Guitar Implements

Sponsor: Northern Illinois University

The goal of this study is to provide an ergonomic recommendation by comparing joint angles and subjective comfort measures for guitarists using footstools and/or guitar supports.

Developing Ergonomic Guidelines

Influence of Armrest and Back Rest Support on Gravitational Moment on the Neck while Using a Smartphone

The goal of this study is to evaluate the effect of the armrest and backrest support on the head and neck kinematics, gravitational moment, muscle activities, and perceived discomfort on the neck. The expected outcome is to determine the optimal chair condition promoting the neutral postures of the neck while using the smartphone.

Biomechanical Evaluation of Augmented Reality (AR) Interactions

Sponsor: Office Ergonomics Research Committee

The objective of this project is to characterize the biomechanical stresses in the neck and the shoulder, subjective comfort, and usability during AR interactions. We will evaluate reach envelopes and preferred hand gesture patterns in 27 different areas (3 X 3 X 3 cube) during AR interactions. This study will advance the current knowledge on AR interactions and their associated biomechanical exposures.

Biomechanical Exposures of the Neck and Shoulder in Virtual Reality

The objective of this study is to determine the most comfortable and effective vertical location of the virtual scene by assessing the 3D joint angles and muscle activity of the neck and shoulder, subjective discomfort, motion sickness, and task performance.

The Brain Activity, Motor Function and Cognitive Performance of Patients with Parkinson Disease While Using a Computer Touchscreen

Sponsor: Northern Illinois University

The goal of this study is to investigate the effect of motor control disability (healthy subjects vs. patients with Parkinson disease) and desktop conditions (traditional vs. touchscreen) on the brain activity, motor function, and cognitive performance.

Contact Us

Wellness and Ergonomics Laboratory (WE-LAB)
College of Engineering and Engineering Technology
590 Garden Road, Room 230

Jaejin Hwang, Ph.D.
Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering
Office: Engineering Building 242
jhwang3@niu.edu
815-753-9980

View my ResearchGate profile