Loughborough University SKInS: wearable simulations of occupational health – defining specifications and product development
conference contributionposted on 04.03.2013, 11:29 by Sharon Cook, Alistair G.F. Gibb, John H. Richardson, Karen Walmsley, Dave Bullock
A previous paper presented at CIB W099 2009 reported the authors’ aim to develop wearable devices to simulate occupational health effects, and their consequential impacts on both working and home life, as experienced by older construction workers. The rationale for the research is that, when worn, the Loughborough University SKInS (Sensory and Kinaesthetic Interactive Simulations) will enable younger workers to directly experience age-related occupational ill-health conditions and so encourage behavioural change and improve future occupational health. Furthermore, other industry stakeholders (managers, architects, equipment designers, etc) should be able to better appreciate the challenges faced by older workers and, through this improved awareness, contribute to an attitude-shift to occupational health within the industry. This paper describes the progress of the project in defining the specifications for five given health conditions that are frequently encountered in construction. The specifications were defined at mild, moderate and severe levels thereby enabling wearers to appreciate the progression of the conditions and their resultant impacts at each stage. The paper further describes how the Loughborough University SKInS were then developed to meet these specifications and discusses the limiting factors which shaped the ultimate designs. Initial reviews by health professionals and industry representatives regarding their fidelity and potential contribution to the industry are also presented.