The European population is ageing, and thus it is of paramount importance to ensure that older workers can stay actively involved in the labour market while retaining a healthy and meaningful life. However, several studies show that almost 60% of the retired workers 50-59 of age, and 33% of 60-69 year old workers, would have preferred to stay longer in the labour market. 52% of these specified health related problems as the main reason for retiring. One of the major problems for older workers is back pain. Especially blue-collar workers and health caregiving personnel are at risk, since they in their daily work functions carry out many, and often heavy lifts. Despite workplace regulations on how many and how heavy lifts a worker may conduct, it is difficult to conveniently measure accumulated lifting weight, lifting torsion and physiological lifting correctness and notify the worker of the issues immediately when they occur. The aim of the project is to develop a personalized Smart Insole system FOr Older WORkers to reduce bacK pain (SI-FOOtWORK). The SI-FOOtWORK system will consist of an insole that, equipped with pressure sensors, can measure lifting workloads of older workers. By integrating state-of-the art low power technology, i. e. Narrowband IoT2 (NB-IoT), the insole can wirelessly and ubiquitously communicate with an adaptable Artificial Intelligence (AI) lifting engine, that can evaluate lifting amounts and correctness. This information will be visualised to the older workers through an application running on their mobile application, a smartwatch, or a discrete wristband or patch (depending on personal and workplace preferences). These immediate notifications will empower the user to avoid and stop problematic lifting situations, thus reducing the risk of developing back pains due to overexertion.The SI-FOOtWORK system will be developed in a co-creation process with primary and secondary end users, and tested in Denmark and Norway.
Project leader: Alenka Temeljotov-Salaj
Institution: NORGES TEKNISK-NATURVITENSKAPELIGE UNIVERSITET NTNU