Comparison of subjective comfort ratings between anatomically shaped and cylindrical handles
Most authors have provided diameter recommendations for cylindrical handle design in order to increase performance, avoid discomfort, and reduce the risk of cumulative trauma disorders. None of the studies has investigated the importance of determining the correct handle shape on the subjective comfort ratings, which could further improve the handles' ergonomics. Therefore, new methods based on a virtual hand model in its optimal power grasp posture have been developed in order to obtain customised handles with best fits for targeted subjects. Cylindrical and anatomically shaped handles were evaluated covering ten subjects by means of an extensive subjective comfort questionnaire. The results suggest large impact of the handle shape on the perceived subjective comfort ratings. Anatomically shaped handles were rated as being considerably more comfortable than cylindrical handles for almost all the subjective comfort predictors. They showed that handle shapes based on optimal power grasp postures can improve subjective comfort ratings, thus maximising performance. Future research should consider real conditions, since the comfort ratings can vary based on the specific task and by the tool selected for the task.