New research on wearable technology in high-risk work environments to help make workers safer has been given a million dollar funding boost.
The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment has awarded the grant to Dr Judy Bowen and her team, Associate Professor Annika Hinze and Professor Rangi Matamua, at the University of Waikato.
There has been a boom in fitness and personal trackers as well as smartwatches that gather personal metrics such as heart-rate, activity levels and hydration levels. Add in environmental factors such as temperature and location, and you may be able to support worker safety by identifying levels of fatigue or unsafe work conditions. But Dr Bowen says there is little scientific evidence to show that the proposed technology can be used in this way in practice. “We did some experimentation with various commercial solutions being offered to businesses, which were promising great things. When we experimented with them in real-world work situations we found they didn’t always live up to some of their promises.”