Intrinsic movement variability at work. How long is the path from motor control to design engineering?

For several years, increasing numbers of studies have highlighted the existence of movement variability. Before that, it was neglected in movement analysis and it is still almost completely ignored in workstation design. This article reviews motor control theoriesand factors influencing movement execution,and indicateshowintrinsic movement variability is part of task completion. These background clarifications shouldhelp ergonomists and workstation designers to gain a better understanding of these concepts,which can then beusedto improve design tools. We also question whichtechniques – kinematics, kinetics or muscular activity – and descriptors are most appropriate for describing intrinsic movement variability and for integrationinto design tools. By this way, simulations generated by designers for workstation design should be closer to the real movements performed by workers. This review emphasises the complexity of identifying, describing and processing intrinsic movement variability in occupational activities.

Clarisse Gaudez, Martine Gilles, Jonathan Savin

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