From The Ergoweb® Learning Center

Sea Sickness Could Improve Ergonomics

Looking for a way of making working environments at sea a little more productive and safer, researchers in Newfoundland are testing out the open seas by trying to make subjects sea sick.

The goal of the simulated sea sickness is to give researchers a better handle on what causes motion sickness. Sponsored by the United States, British, Canadian and Dutch navies, participants are being tossed around a landlocked, full-scale ship’s bridge located inside Memorial University of Newfoundland’s Marine Institute while also performing various work- and memory-related tasks.

Scott MacKinnon, an ergonomics researcher at Memorial University, told CBC News that one of the main purposes of the project is to see how the brain reacts to motion sickness. Included MacKinnon’s research is an experiment where subjects perform memory tests on laptop computers as the simulated ship pitches and rolls, to determine what effect the motion has on the participants’ ability to concentrate.

Motion sickness has been linked to worker distraction, disorientation, decreased responsiveness and mental alertness, as well as weakness and nausea. Researchers and scientists, who have also reported their share of motion sickness while aboard the ship, would like to use their findings to improve work environments at sea and possibly change ship design.

Source: CBC News