Electromyography / Physiological Effort Testing

The Design Research Question

What does one do to determine accurately how much physical effort a user is exerting when using a specific product?

Why It Matters

Physical effort is highly correlated with important factors like ease of use, fatigue, and coordinated actions. By accurately defining physical effort between design alternatives one can optimize the UX experience based on science not art. Less effort equals higher levels of user acceptance.

The MUSLabs Solution

Based on over 30 years of experience with advanced electromyography research methods MUSLabs has developed a robust design research methodology combining EMG data with Newtonian force measurement. The system accurately defines the micro and macro levels of physical effort involved in manipulation of products ranging from small hand-held devices to products requiring whole body involvement.


How the Solution is Now Applied

The system is now fully integrated into our ongoing research programs for leading high technology companies. The system has been utilized for a wide range of design research programs ranging from the development of formal human factors engineering force specifications for a wide range of devices ranging from drug delivery devices to running shoes. The system is especially useful in comparing a series of design concepts during development.

Miniaturized hand-held devices

We have developed a specialized version of the research system that addresses the specific biomechanical and Newtonian force issues related to miniaturized hand-held personal devices where a high degree of stability or repeated use of common features produces surprisingly high levels of accumulated physical effort.  When combined with our proprietary 3D tracking systems the results produce scientifically valid data on the relationship between physical effort and actual operational forces. The system has been used to create and verify control activation forces for a wide range of products and related user interfaces.