Wearable Tactile System for Improved Hazard Perception in Construction SitesAuthor/Presenter: Sakhakarmi, Sayan; Park, JeeWoong
As far as construction safety is concerned, the identification and rapid communication of potential hazards before they lead to an accident are crucial. Well-informed workers can promptly take preventive actions and ensure their own safety. Hence, researchers have developed various approaches to detect potential onsite hazards. However, relatively insufficient attention has been given to communicating the detected hazards to workers at risk. Therefore, this research aims to establish a tactile-based communication protocol, which can be used in noisy environments in order to overcome the present difficulty of workers in perceiving hazards. To do this, the study uses a wearable, tactile-sensing system as a means of communication. The developed wearable system is composed of vibration motors, which are wirelessly controlled using Wi-Fi enabled Arduino boards. In this experimental study, the system was tested to determine its reliability in communicating information related to potential collision accidents on construction sites, to enable quick reactions from workers. The field experiment tested various tactile signals containing information about the relative location of the approaching vehicle, type of vehicle, and intensity of hazard. The test results show that the system is reliable in communicating hazard information to workers and allowing hazard perception to be robust, without being limited by adverse construction environments (i.e., limited hearing and vision). The implementation of such a hazard communication system, together with a hazard detection system, would significantly reduce the number of fatalities and injuries related to collisions on construction sites, and thus, ensure safer work zones for workers.