It’s easy to forget about proper posture when you’re busy at work. Engrossed in analyzing evidence, you realize you have compromised your comfort and posture for hours by sitting at a microscope positioned at the wrong height, or leaning uncomfortably forward in an awkward position to see into the microscope eyepieces. Musculoskeletal stress is uncomfortable and avoidable thanks to the design engineers at Leeds Forensic Systems, Inc. Improving our products by taking into consideration customer’s feedback, Leeds’ design engineers have incorporated the following top five ergonomic upgrades into the Leeds LCF3 firearms and toolmarks comparison microscope.
5. Tilting Eye Tubes
Traditional microscopes come with binocular heads requiring the user to maintain a fixed position when looking through the microscope. Maintaining a fixed viewing position when examining specimens leads to significant muscle fatigue. The Leeds LCF3 provides a tilting binocular or tilting trinocular tube to allow for the examiner to adjust the viewing angle over a period of time to prevent fatigue. In addition, Leeds manufactures ergonomic risers and telescoping eye tubes to give examiners further options for comfortable viewing positions.
TIP: Eyepieces should rest just below the eyes with the eyes looking downward at an angle 30 to 45 degrees above the horizontal; interpupillary distance of binocular eyepieces should be adjusted to ensure that both eyes are focusing comfortably.
4. Hand Over Wrist Focusing
The Leeds LCF3 is designed to allow the user to focus the stages by turning the focus knob in a hand over wrist motion. Have you ever been to a parade and watched the Queen wave to the crowd? The typical wave is hand over wrist. This wave is to prevent fatigue and allow the Queen to greet the crowd from the beginning to the end of the parade. In addition to hand over wrist motion the course focus has a tension adjustment to allow the user to adjust the tension to their preference.
TIP: The upper arms should be perpendicular to the floor, elbows close to the body (not winged or sticking out), forearms parallel to the floor; wrists should be straight.
3. Height Adjustment
Leeds LCF3 offers two motorized height adjustments. One motor operates the table adjustments and the second operates the column height, allowing the examiner to raise both the optics and viewing head to prevent neck flexion. When the proper height is achieved the wrists and arms are placed in a neutral and natural position.
TIP: The neck and head should bend as little as possible, preferably no more than 10-15 degrees below the horizontal.
2. High Eye point Focusing Eyepieces
It is very important to prevent eye fatigue when using a microscope. To help in this prevention, the Leeds LCF3 firearms & toolmarks comparison microscope system provides two focusing high eye point 22 mm field of view eyepieces. The LCF3 allows the user the option of wearing their eyeglasses when using the microscope. The eyepieces can be individually adjusted for any differences between the examiners eyesight, and the system can be par focalized from high to low magnification. The Leeds LCF3 is very light efficient allowing crisp, bright, sharp images further reducing eye strain. The large 22mm field of view is a perfect balance between large viewing area and issues of “tunnel” vision common with smaller field of views.
TIP: Focus both eyepieces as sharply as possible on the knife edge dividing line in the comparison bridge.
TIP: When finished focusing your eyepieces read off the number on the eyepiece. This is your setting. Use this number when you are sitting at the microscope, dual view head, or using the measuring cross hair.
1. Ergonomic Bean Shape Table
Sitting too far away from the microscope eye tubes causes strain and undue stress on the body. If the examiner has to lean forward to look into the microscope this will cause posture misalignment. Leeds designed a 36” ergonomic bean shaped table with front indent cut-out and large work station surface allowing examiners to position their chair a closer distance to microscope to achieve the most comfortable viewing position. The leg cross bar can be raised or lowered as needed offering a comfortable footrest. This picture shows the optional 12” table extension wing with object roll-off protection edge and includes a reversible soft surface neoprene pad to protect objects placed on work surface.
TIP: The examiner should sit completely upright, leaning the entire body slightly forward with the lower back and shoulder blades supported by the chair and/or lumbar support cushion. Sitting for long periods of time will place strain on the lower back, which can be alleviated with proper support.
TIP: Prevent leaning forward to look through the microscope by adjusting the Leeds motorized microscope column and by moving closer to microscope utilizing closer access from bean shape table. Ideally you want to keep your back straight and your head upright.
TIP: If the microscope is too low, adjust motorized table height to achieve the most comfortable position. Adjust the height of the microscope, to avoid bending or extending the neck, or jutting the chin forward.