Opinion: A big hand for innovation

Published: 3-Aug-2012

Improved glove design and an innovative touchscreen workstation are just two of the ways that technology is improving user comfort and convenience

Many years ago, when touchscreen technology was in its infancy, I went to the press launch of a biometric identification system based on fingerprints to make equipment used in controlled environments compliant with 21CFR Part 11.

Very clever – except that when I asked whether it could be used by someone wearing gloves, there was an embarrassed silence, some throat-clearing and a rapid move on to the next question.

HMIs have come a long way since then, and the innovative Blautouch interactive workstation from Laborial, designed specifically for laboratories and cleanrooms, marks another milestone in compatibility between man and machine.

A breakthrough could also be on the cards in the design of gloves. Ill-fitting gloves, like poorly designed garments, can have a serious adverse effect on performance across a wide range of jobs in various industry sectors. Just as the ambient temperature and lighting levels need to fall within an optimum range for a given application, gloves and garments that detract from wearer comfort will reduce productivity and efficiency, especially in tasks that require a high level of precision.

Designing gloves based on only two measurements is bound to result in a less than ideal fit for the majority of users. One size will never fit all, and while individual tailoring is impractical, at least gaining a better idea of what constitutes ‘average’ should enable a range of sizes to be developed that will offer an improved fit for many users.

So let’s give a round of applause to Laborial and the Hohenstein Institute for their ‘handsome’ achievements.

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