Researchers looking to catch up to the exploding popularity of tablet computers have published recommendations for guidelines that ensure devices like Apple’s iPad and Motorola’s Xoom are comfortable and safe to use.

"Compared to typical desktop computing scenarios, the use of media tablet computers is associated with high head and neck flexion postures, and there may be more of a concern for the development of neck and shoulder discomfort," said lead investigator Jack T. Dennerlein, PhD, of the Department of Environmental Health, Harvard School of Public Health, and Brigham and Women's Hospital.

To alleviate discomfort, the researchers say to place the tablet higher to avoid low gaze angles, use a case that provides optimal viewing angles.

Fifteen people were monitored by an infrared 3-D motion analysis system while they used either the iPad2 or Xoom.

The study is published in Work: A Journal of Prevention, Assessment, and Rehabilitation.