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Personalized Body Sensor Networks with Built-In Intelligence for Real-Time Risk Assessment and Coaching of Ageing workers, in all types of working and living environments (BIONIC)

Project number: F 2494 Institution: Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (BAuA) Status: Ongoing Project Planned end: 2021-12-31


Demographic change poses major challenges to the world of work. Due to the increasing proportion of older employees, musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are likely to become even more common in the future than they are today.

To avoid MSDs, employees must be protected from overuse injuries. This collaborative project is supposed to develop a personalised system of sensors which records employees’ postures. For this purpose, test subjects’ work clothes will be fitted with an intelligent chipset. It stores the movements of the test subjects and the forces acting on them while they work. The sensor system’s acceptability and fitness for use is being tested at two different workplaces. Furthermore, biomechanical models will be developed to assess the stress on the musculoskeletal system.

In its contribution to the collaborative project, the German Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health is investigating whether determining physical strain in real time supplies reliable results.

If successful, the innovative process should be able to systematically record physical stress over longer periods in the future. At the same time, the expense associated with such investigations should be reduced. This means that physical stress can be identified at the right time, meaning that suitable measures for preventing MSDs will be taken.

The leisure habits of employees also have an impact on their physical health. Therefore, additional strategies for motivating employees to do compensatory activities in their free time are being investigated.

The project is receiving funding from the European Union’s “Horizon 2020” research and innovation programme as part of grant agreement no. 826304.


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