Improving Worker Safety with IoT Connected Sensors
Meghan Brown posted on November 06, 2015 |
System monitors breathing, heart rate and exposure to toxic gas to prevent workplace injury.
Prototypes of “Connected Worker” safety sensors. (Image courtesy of Honeywell.)

Prototypes of “Connected Worker” safety sensors. (Image courtesy of Honeywell.)

Soon robotic systems may not be the only connected workers in industrial manufacturing.

A new prototype for a personal, wearable IoT-enabled safety solution means possible reductions in workplace injury and other hazardous situations. 

The device is intended to be used inside factories as well as during search and rescue, firefighting and other first responder situations.

Developed by Honeywell and Intel, the “Connected Worker” solution includes a variety of wearable sensors that monitor information such as toxic gas exposer, breathing, heart rate, posture and motion.

The Mobile Hub dashboard monitors the status of the employee, in this case a firefighter. (Image courtesy of Honeywell.)
The Mobile Hub dashboard monitors the status of the employee, in this case a firefighter. (Image courtesy of Honeywell.)

A Mobile Hub system collects the sensor data and compiles it to provide a broader and more accurate picture of what that worker is experiencing. 

The sensors pull their data from several components, including:

  • A self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA)
  • A heart rate monitor
  • Several microcontroller-based devices:
      • A toxic gas monitor
      • Activity detection device
      • A non-verbal gesture device

The resulting data and actionable intelligence is displayed remotely on a visual, cloud-based dashboard, giving plant managers or incident commanders information they can use to anticipate unsafe conditions as well as respond to or prevent dangerous scenarios.

During a demonstration, the firefighter moves his arm in a gesture that the system recognizes, producing a “man down” notification on the Mobile Hub dashboard. The notification includes an option to show the person’s location on a map. (Images courtesy of Honeywell.)
During a demonstration, the firefighter moves his arm in a gesture that the system recognizes, producing a “man down” notification on the Mobile Hub dashboard. The notification includes an option to show the person’s location on a map. (Images courtesy of Honeywell.)

The data can also be used to prevent or anticipate potential equipment failure that may create unsafe conditions or costly downtime of employees of machinery.

“This collaboration between Honeywell and Intel showcases how we are connecting industrial workers to the digital world and creating safer work environments," said Carl Johnson, president of Honeywell Industrial Safety. 

"Honeywell's long history in sensing technologies enables us to utilize environmental data to reduce risks and increase the productivity of our customers by using technology and staying connected to workers. This is a major breakthrough for worker safety and productivity that will revolutionize the industrial workplace," Johnson said.

The prototype system was demonstrated at Intel’s Internet of Things (IoT) Insights Day showcase earlier this week.

“The joint use case from Honeywell and Intel demonstrates an industrial wearable solution for a connected worker to help protect workers from unexpected and previously undetected risks in industrial environments," said Doug Davis, senior vice president of the Intel IoT Group. 

"Today's demonstration is a great example of an edge-to-enterprise solution that validates how real-time information can be turned into potentially life-saving actions."

For more information on Honeywell and the Connected Worker safety solution, visit the website.

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