Ergonomics issues while using virtual reality (VR) headsets for text-intensive applications have not been studied. Measures of neck and shoulder discomfort and simulator sickness symptoms were quantified while participants were performing a document creation task for 60 min using a VR headset and a desktop monitor. During the task with the headset, participants rotated the head 2.7 times more frequently and used the neck extensor muscles 25.9% more, in average. They also rated the neck and shoulder discomfort 60% and 17.5% higher after the task. The simulator sickness symptoms were also rated significantly higher (p < .05) for the headset condition, with more pronounced differences in the symptoms related to visual discomfort. Results indicate that the physical discomforts due to the frequent head rotations and the headset weight, and visual discomforts due to difficulty in reading texts were the main issues of the VR headset for common office tasks. Practitioner summary: Ergonomics issues associated with the use of a VR headset for conducting office productivity work tasks have been evaluated in an experiment. Study results indicate that the development in the neck physical discomfort and visual discomfort may be the main barriers to the use of current VR headsets for office works. Abbreviations: VR: virtual reality; VDT: video display terminal; EMG: electromyography; MVC: maximum voluntary contraction; SSQ: simulator sickness questionnaire; ECG: electrocardiogram; NEMG: normalised electromyography.
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