Saving Lives & Reducing Injuries in Construction with Innovative Wearable Technologies

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Human Condition is Applying Their Previously Developed Biometric Sensing Technology to Tackle OSHA’s Focus Four Construction Hazards Using Intel’s New Edison Platform

“Construction is a tough and dangerous job with constant pressure due to deadlines and weather. There is no reason safety and efficiency can not coexist on a modern job site, and we are excited to be developing these important tools that can save lives.”

Construction job site injuries account for 19.6%* of all U.S. work related fatalities and injuries. This includes falls, electrocution, repetitive stress, and temperature related injuries. Human Condition, a New York City based innovation think and do tank, wants to change this.

Global construction is expected to grow 70% by 2025* according to Global Construction Perspectives and Oxford Economics. With this growth comes a need to focus on job site safety and efficiency. While construction technologies have had to adapt to increasingly complex building demands of architects and modern design, construction safety technology has lagged behind. As one of the most dangerous occupations, this needs to be addressed swiftly.

The team started by looking to address the OSHA’s Focus Four Hazards: falls, struck, electrocution, and caught-in or between. These areas were the basis for designing the next generation of construction safety clothing. Focusing on two existing pieces of safety gear, the team designed a new smart hard hat and a safety vest that can be incorporated into a modern job site.

"Construction safety and health is about to see a transformative change over the next few years due to innovative solutions and applications in wearable technology. The technology has finally caught up so that it can provide the solutions our research has shown to be needed in the construction industry. Collecting data on workforce movements and behavior can allow us to identify safety and health related patterns and intervene. Our research has shown that bad work layout is often to blame for injuries or fatalities. We have to consider that workers want to be empowered and involved in hazard detection, control, feedback, and decision making."

-Dr. Jochen Teizer, Director of RAPIDS Construction Safety and Technology Laboratory, Georgia Institute of Technology

According to a blind survey the Human Condition Institute conducted in 2013 both workers and managers responded favorably to taking active roles in wearing technology that would promote job site safety.

Human Condition also looked at the ecosystem of modern job sites and applied biometric and location-based sensor technology to the rethinking of safety clothing for construction workers. The technologies they have developed over the course of a decade for healthcare, entertainment, and automotive industries are being adapted for this important and transformative application. This infographic shows the teams thinking.

The first smart safety clothing items they are designing are comprised of a safety vest and hardhat.

The key to this technology is low-cost wearable computers that do not interfere and can be powered by the motion of the worker. With Intel’s announcement of Edison, an SD card sized computer that integrates a miniature computer with wireless radios, these products can be more easily brought to market.

“By utilizing low-cost flexible sensors, and devices like Intel’s Edison Development Board we predict that this technology will revolutionize the way contractors view their sites, crews, and bottom lines. When safety, cost, and efficiency are not viewed as mutually exclusive we have succeeded.” - Peter E. Raymond, Human Condition CEO.

The benefits delivered by wearable technology on job site, safety, management, and cost savings are tremendous and will influence construction job site culture globally. Human Condition is looking to collaborate with Intel, Skanska, Hitachi, Bollard, 3M and Engineering Schools in order to enable this potential evolution toward better safety and efficiency on a global scale.

The "enhanced" reflector vest has both GPS as well as RTLS location capabilities, airbag fall protection system, and vital stat monitor. The hard hat detects biometric signals coupled with force detection to detect and report an impact or a fall. It can also report when it is not being worn in a specified area of a job site. An integrated LED work light and safety beacon has been implemented to help with visual alerting of a hazard and enable visual identification of a worker who may be in a compromised location.

The smart safety clothing connects to a cloud-based processing and a mobile dashboard interface to indicate: vitals, body temperature, repetitive motion (which can possibly lead to injuries), and location. The sensor embedded outerwear provides real time, to the minute data.

The wearable construction clothing can be integrated with building information modeling software (BIM) to provide a 5-dimensional view of a construction project. Time, space, climate, materials and workers are all able to be tracked and used for predictions and modeling.

Utilizing this streaming data on site can increase employee safety by analyzing information such as: hoist use, task-orientated location monitoring, proximity to hazards / heavy machinery on the move, and specific body functions to predict injuries, site specific dangers, and climate impact on the workers and job site.

The real time data allows a supervisor/engineer to communicate with employees if they enter or are about to enter a potential hazard zone and to also view whether or not they are in the correct zones and performing the assigned tasks. Utilizing the biometric information provided by an automated solution, employers are capable of monitoring and correcting job site behavior. On-the-job injuries can potentially cause major costs and construction delays. Maintaining job site efficiency and safety is important as labor productivity is crucial to monitor if a project is going to be completed on schedule and within budget.

About Human Condition:

Human Condition is an innovation think and do tank that executes with rigor, expertise, and incredible speed. We work with progressive organizations to solve problems at a global scale with a social conscience. From developing insights for the New York Taxi of Tomorrow to developing innovative healthcare solutions for major pharmaceutical companies, Human Condition has a wide range of expertise and a deep talent pool.

Human Condition has published it 2014 outlook: 2014 Trends - Innovations That Matter

Human Condition Institute, the research and policy division of Human Condition Global, selects exceptional individuals as fellows who steward change, and work in research, education, content development, and thought leadership in our global centers and think tanks. They mine for data insights, help influence policy and mentor. We empower them to follow their interests and push projects that could not come to fruition without them.

Human Condition is recognized in both the City and State of New York as a:

Qualified Emerging Technology Company
Emerging NYC Biotechnology Company
Empire Zone Certified Company

For questions or more information please contact:

Peter E. Raymond
(646) 867-0644
217 Bond Street
Brooklyn, NY 11217

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Peter E. Raymond
Human Condition
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since: 07/2009
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