This award will be presented at the August 17-21, 2013 Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) Conference on Automation Science and Engineering.
Jason B. Forsyth, right, of Durham, N.C., and a Ph.D. candidate in computer engineering, http://vt.academia.edu/JasonForsyth, places a wearable computing system on a helmet to protect construction workers from carbon monoxide poisoning. The work garnered the Virginia Tech researchers a Best Paper award.
Credit: Virginia Tech
Carbon monoxide poisoning is a significant problem for construction workers in both residential and industrial settings. The danger exists because the exhaust from gasoline-powered hand tools can quickly build up in enclosed spaces and easily overcome the tool's users and nearby co-workers.
In the paper, the researchers explained how they integrated a pulse oximetry sensor into a typical construction helmet to allow continuous and noninvasive monitoring of workers' blood gas saturation levels. The results of their study showed that a user of this helmet would be warned of impending carbon monoxide poisoning with a probability of greater than 99 percent.
The award-winning research and resulting paper was written by Jason B. Forsyth, of Durham, N.C., and a Ph.D. candidate in computer engineering, his adviser Thomas L. Martin, professor of electrical and computer engineering, Deborah Young-Corbett, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering and a member of the Myers-Lawson School of Construction, and Ed Dorsa, associate professor of industrial design.
The paper, Feasibility of Intelligent Monitoring of Construction Workers for Carbon Monoxide Poisoning," can be found at: http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/xpl/articleDetails.jsp?arnumber=6200386. It was the focus of Forsyth's master's thesis, and Martin, Young-Corbett and Dorsa were all members of his graduate committee.
Ten Virginia Tech students participated in the study conducted on the university campus. They mimicked simple tasks of construction workers.
To show the feasibility of monitoring for carbon monoxide poisoning without subjecting the users to dangerous conditions, the researchers used a prototype for monitoring the blood oxygen saturation. The difference for monitoring for oxygen and for carbon monoxide differs only in the number of wavelengths of light employed, so if this monitoring proved feasible, then the monitoring for carbon monoxide would be feasible as well.
They selected a helmet for the installation of a wearable computer because they needed a design that could be worn year round which ruled out seasonal clothing such as overalls or coats. They also wanted a design that was socially acceptable, and one that struck a balance between comfort, usability, and feasibility.
"This helmet is only a first step toward our long-term vision of having a network of wearable and environmental sensors and intelligent personal protective gear on construction sites that will improve safety for workers," according to their report. "While this helmet targets carbon monoxide poisoning, we believe there are compelling opportunities for wearable computing in reducing injuries due to falls, electrocution, and particulate inhalation, as well as workers on foot being struck by vehicles."
Martin is a past recipient of both the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers and the National Science Foundation CAREER Award, both furthering his research in the design of electronic textiles and "smart" clothes.
Young-Corbett is working in a new field of engineering known as Prevention through Design or PtD. This optimal method of preventing occupational illnesses, injuries, and fatalities is to "design out" the hazards and risks; thereby, eliminating the need to control them during work operations. She is also the associate director of the Center for Innovation in Construction Safety and Health Research of the Institute of Critical Technology and Applied Science at Virginia Tech.
Dorsa has a National Science Foundation funded studio in interdisciplinary product development, working with faculty from the College of Engineering and the College of Business' Department of Marketing. In 2005, Design Intelligence chose him as one of the 40 most admired industrial design faculty in the U.S.
Lynn Nystrom | EurekAlert!
Healthy Hiking in Smart Socks
22.02.2017 | Technische Universität Chemnitz
A shampoo bottle that empties completely -- every last drop
27.06.2016 | Ohio State University
In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport
Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...
The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.
The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...
Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...
Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".
Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...
13.02.2017 | Event News
10.02.2017 | Event News
09.02.2017 | Event News
24.02.2017 | Life Sciences
24.02.2017 | Life Sciences
24.02.2017 | Trade Fair News