Frequently asked question

What is PU Leather?

There are two primary types of faux leather construction: polyurethane (“PU”), and polyvinyl chloride (PVC – “Vinyl”).

Vinyl synthetic leather has been produced in the United States since the 1940s, initially for products such as shoes, automobile interiors and upholstery. In the late 1950s DuPont and other chemical companies began developing polyurethane products.

Both polyurethane and vinyl synthetic leathers are used in making clothing, upholstery, and product covers, but each is better for certain applications than others. PU fabric is softer, more flexible, and breathable, so it's more commonly used for making high-wear products, like clothing and upholstery (surfaces that come into direct contact with skin). Vinyl is not as breathable as PU, but this is often ideal for products that need to repel moisture such as book bindings or cases for electronic devices.

Vinyl Upholstery

Vinyl upholstery is made from two separate synthetic materials. The fibers of the upholstery are constructed from strong polyester fibers. The fibers are then coated with vinyl, made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and plasticizers (phthalic acid). This vinyl is melted onto the surface of the fibers, sealing them closed and making a virtually waterproof surface that is still flexible and tough.

Vinyl upholstery is easy to clean and maintain. This makes it ideal for situations where cleanliness is a top priority, such as in hospitals and restaurants. Vinyl also does not require any special care or conditioning. However, vinyl can become uncomfortably hot if left in the sun. Skin will stick to the surface, creating an uncomfortable seating situation. Vinyl may also crack with extended use.

Polyurethane Upholstery

PU is made by coating a backing fabric such as cotton, polyester or shredded leather with a flexible polymer and then treating it to look more like animal hide. Polyurethane upholstery is the most realistic imitation of genuine leather, with respect to hand, surface feel, and overall appearance. When stitched, gathered, or tufted it actually “breaks” or wrinkles like real leather. Because there are no plasticizers used in PU upholstery there is no cracking or peeling, and it remains soft and supple for the duration of time it remains on the furniture. They are also easier to decorate designs on them. Polyurethane is considered greener than Vinyl because it does not create dioxins. PU resins are made of a softer polymer and therefore don’t need additional plasticizers. Polyurethane costs less than real leather but it is more expensive to produce than Vinyl.

Do I need to sit in the same perfect posture all day?

Actually, no. You should try to vary your activities and position during the day to stimulate circulation and rest overworked muscles. Find a couple of low-risk positions that offer support and comfort and shift between them. If you plan to do a repetitive task such as work at your desk for an extended period, many experts feel that you should take frequent mini-breaks of a few minutes each hour. During these breaks you could do some filing, sort your mail, do some stretches, tidy up your office, or walk to the copier and make copies.

What is the best way to organise my workstation?

You should keep the most frequently used items within easy arms reach and on the side of your dominant hand. For instance, if you spend a lot of time on the phone and are right-handed, you should have your phone within easy arm's reach on the right side of your workstation. Avoid awkward reaching, bending, or stretching to reach frequently used items.

If I work at a computer, how often should I have my eyes checked?

A minimum of once every two years. When you make an appointment with your eye care professionals, you should mention that you work at a computer and ask if they need any further information. They may want to know how much time you spend at the computer and how far your monitor is from your eyes. If you are a heavy computer user, they may offer you glasses that are optimized for computer work.

What are the benefits of using a VERTICAL mouse?

Keyboard and Mouse Position

Neutral Hand posture, also known as “the position of repose” or “shake hand position” is the most relaxed and unstrained position for the hand. In this position, little muscle activity is present in the hand, wrist or forearm. The position of repose for the hand is fingers slightly cupped and splayed, with the thumb forming a “C” shape with the index finger. The amount of pronation (angle from horizontal) varies within individuals, but should be in the range of 10 to 60 degrees. This position is easily observed in a weightless environment, for example while the hand is relaxed and suspended in a bath or swimming pool.

-Goldtouch ergonomic mouse design 2010 Key Ovation. All rights reserved

MAS-Mouse Arm Syndrome is a form of Repetitive Strain Injury. Its symptoms include numbness, tingling, lack of endurance, clumsiness, lack of sensation, tremor and pain. It has been studied extensively in a number of countries resulting in the fact that prolonged use of an ordinary mouse can cause pain, stiffness and often permanent damage to the muscles and tendon in the body.

If you work in an office chances are you or your neighbour have experienced MAS and experts believe the problem will reach epidemic proportions over the next 10 years as more people especially children incorporate IT into their everyday lives.

An ordinary mouse causes the forearm bones to twist and the extensors to tighten in order to hold the fingers slightly above the mouse buttons. Arms and fingers are under slight tension constantly which causes cumulative injury effect. When the extensors are too tight they can cause epicondylitis and even trap the radial nerve a cause of hand numbness.

In order to prevent these injuries the hand should be completely relaxed, halfway between a fist and straight and the fingers able to flex. This balances the tension between the flexors and the extensors of the fingers. The genuine ergonomic mouse is vertical or stick and places your hand in the “shake hand” position.

Minicute EZ mouse Germany CeBIT show on 2009

The amount of pronation can have a marked benefit to overcome or minimise RSI or MAS which is still a major problem with constant users of the mouse. Ergonomic mice are available from 22 degrees to 80 degrees. The newest stick mouse is ambidextrous has 3 hand size models and is available in wireless as well as wired.

Where shoulder abduction and RSI problems do not respond to ergonomically correct mice there has been developed a “mouse that does not move” which is placed in front of the keyboard and uses a roll bar technique. This product is the ultimate in forcing the arms into the body and has the added benefit of being used with both left and right hands and fingers and thumbs.

Keyboards for years have been made with built in back feet and it is now recommended that they not be used and should be folded down. Keyboards should not tilt forward but may have a slight backward or negative tilt. They should be placed in line with the user the document holder and the monitor. The keyboard width is critical when using an accessory such as a numeric pad or mouse. Sideways movement of the mouse creates shoulder abduction which can in turn cause pain in arms and wrists. It is important when using accessories the arms should be as close as possible to the body. Mini Keyboards are now available where the numeric pad can be stored by sliding underneath. This lets the arm in closer to the body when mousing.

Also available are split keyboards which are narrower than a standard board and can be angled away from the centre and swung back to force pronation. This is more effective for touch typing.

The correct seating position should let you arms be relaxed at your side and the elbows bent at a right angle with wrists in a straight line to drop on to the keyboard. The mouse should be at the same level as the keyboard and where there is a tendency to break the wrists upward (wrist extension) a keyboard rest will provide support for the keyboard and mouse in the one product.

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