Smart fall-detecting insole keeps tabs on worker safety
If slips, trips and falls tend to occur in one area of an outdoor workplace, employers ought to know about it, so they can address the problem. A new "smart" insole is designed to provide that information, in case workers forget or don't bother.
The wearable device is being developed via a partnership between the National University of Singapore and spinoff company FlexoSense – the project is led by the university's Prof. Lim Chwee Teck.
Worn inside regular third-party footwear, the insole incorporates electronics including a GPS module, an inertial measurement unit (IMU) and pressure sensors. The GPS records the wearer's location, while the IMU and the sensors detect sudden foot movements and changes in foot pressure, respectively.
Analyzing that data in real time, custom algorithms are able to identify the telltale combinations of readings which indicate that the wearer has slipped, tripped or fallen. The time and location of these incidents can be viewed on a wirelessly linked smartphone app, or via an online dashboard.
The idea is that if employers see that accidents tend to occur in one area, they can initiate changes to make that area safer. Additionally, if one particular worker appears to slipping, tripping and/or falling a lot regardless of their location, they can be reassigned to a lower-risk position.
"STFs [slip trip falls] are significant cost drivers for most companies due to a loss of productivity, medical expenses and administrative costs," said FlexoSense CEO Chia Lye Peng. "We believe our smart insole can help to reduce the human and financial costs before serious accidents happen."
The insole technology is currently being field-tested by the Maritime Port Authority of Singapore.
Source: National University of Singapore