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Good Vibrations: New Tech Provides “Sensory Substitution” to Increase Worksite Safety

December 12th, 2019 | Published by NEW Construction Alliance

When The Beach Boys sang “I’m picking up good vibrations” back in 1966, it is likely no one would’ve guessed that 50 years later researchers would use a similar concept to improve construction worksite safety—particularly as it pertains to struck-by and caught-in deaths.

But that’s exactly what a new University of Nevada–Las Vegas (UNLV) study demonstrates.

From the Construction Dive story:

New wearable technology could help prevent struck-by and caught-between injuries and incidents, found a study from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas released last month by the Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR). The study outfitted workers with waist belts with vibrating motors to detect possible nearby hazards.

The tactile system, designed to notify workers through vibrations, was able to deliver information through signal intensity and duration, notifying them where nearby heavy machinery was operating. Participants had their eyes covered and used the vibrational feedback to determine the location of potential hazards and move away from them.

The tasks were completed with an estimated 95% accuracy, the study
said. “We often have problems of communication and becoming aware of hazards, especially in harsh environments,” said Joe Park, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering at UNLV, and one of the study’s researchers. “To me, this looked to be a great way to overcome this problem.”

Read the whole story here.

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