Improving the tool-operator interface provides several advantages. First, we eliminate the constant rearrangement of work assignments which is required to minimize the time any one worker has to spend peering through the eyepieces of a microscope.
Now one person can spend an entire day, every day, at a microscope. Economy of scale principles dictates an improved productivity when each person can specialize in a single activity. Second, an improved interface provides direct productivity improvement.
As a result, the business has to employ fewer people to perform the same amount of work. And there is a third important advantage: those who spend all day, every day in a chair — qualified people with mobility impairments — are now part of the prospective employee pool. By focusing on their abilities, it becomes apparent that performing the job of a microscopist, using appropriately designed interfaces6, is truly serendipitous.
A person with quadriplegia can work as productively as anyone else, and recruiting intelligent, career-minded people with limited mobility for these positions provides a new source of employees for businesses while giving some well- motivated people access to high-tech careers.