From the ergonomic point of view, data about hand forces and hand dimensions are of particular importance. In order to develop ergonomically well-designed tools (e.g. pliers or screwdrivers), it is helpful to know about hand dimensions and strength of potential users. Certainly, there are anthropometric databases in Germany already. However, depending on the time of measurement, it is questionable, whether these data still represent today's general public. This is particularly true for data on hand dimensions. Also, no coherent data on hand dimensions and force are available.
To analyse a large sample of the general public, a standardised method inventory was developed. It consists of a standardised background questionnaire (e.g. age, gender, occupation, sports, body weight and height), a 3D scanner to assess relevant hand dimensions and a force-measure-stand to assess maximum forces. The maximum isometric force was assessed in three cases including “rotating”, “pushing” and “pulling”.
More than 1,000 participants could be included in this study. The participants represent the inhabitants of the “Bergische Region”, an area in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia in Germany. Whereas the level of force within the participants between 20 and 60 years were more or less consistent (males and females separately), the level between males and females differ significantly.
Interestingly enough, the level of force only slightly differs among participants in the age from 20 to 60 years. These results are not in accordance with most data from literature, like e.g. from Hettinger (1983). In this publication (among others), the 20 to 25 years old males were described as strongest, with decreasing force with increasing age. Further analysis and results, including coherences between hand dimensions and force will be presented at the congress.
Hettinger T (1983): Isometrisches Muskeltraining. 5. Edition. Stuttgart, New York, Thieme.