Literature review on seat comfort during smartphone use in public transport systems
Smartphone use in public transport systems increased from 8% to 48% from the years 2014 to 2018. Smartphones are often used while the users are seated. However, seats are often not designed for this activity. Smartphone use while seated could cause discomfort, especially in the upper limbs, back and neck, and could lead to musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). This systematic review summarizes smartphone use with attention to the activities done, durations, postures, characteristics of the human body, discomfort experience and needs of the users, with special attention for vehicle seats. In addition, potential improvements of the seat are reviewed. In all, 185 articles were collected from the Scopus and Pub-Med databases. The abstracts were screened by two researchers and then compared and discussed based on a set of inclusion criteria. Forty-five publications met the criteria, and five were added because the authors were familiar with them. The literature shows that the smartphone is often used with two hands, sometimes with the elbows on an armrest. Smartphone use influences discomfort, which mainly occurs in the neck and back. To improve the neck and back positions, the armrest should be at the correct height. Using a smartphone with proper arm support might prevent neck and back pain. The number of studies on smartphone use while travelling is limited. Most studies are conducted in the laboratory, at home or the office. Many papers state that neck bending should be prevented, and smartphone usage time should be limited. Some studies mention that the preferred angle of the backrest for smartphone use is 120 degrees in an aircraft seat and an arm support should be added. Further research is needed on this point, especially for other vehicles. In future studies, redesigned seats should be tested by smartphone users. The redesign can be based on the first design directions presented in this paper.
- 2023-10-23 first online, published, posted
- Royal Thai Government Scholarship, Thailand