The WorkSafe Monitor: A Comprehensive Wearable Personal Safety Monitor for Manufacturing and Construction Workers; Security and Social Dynamics in the Advancement of Wearable Technology

Spangler, Cambria, School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia
Francisco, Pedro Augusto, EN-Engineering and Society, University of Virginia
Barnes, Adam, EN-Elec & Comp Engr Dept, University of Virginia

The rapid advancement in wearable technologies, particularly within the Internet of Things (IoT) and the Internet of Wearable Things (IoWT), represents a significant pivot towards enhancing personal and professional lives through digital innovation. Our technical research, embodied in the development of the "WorkSafe Monitor," a wearable safety device for construction workers, aims to mitigate the prevalent risks of workplace injuries and fatalities. Concurrently, our STS research delves into the broader societal implications, examining the dynamic relationship between humans and technology, with a special emphasis on wearable devices. Both research endeavors are intrinsically linked by the underlying theme of technological innovation aimed at promoting safety, health, and enhanced interaction between individuals and their environments.

The "WorkSafe Monitor" project responds to the urgent need for enhanced safety measures in the construction industry, marked by a high incidence of work-related accidents and fatalities. Through an integrated approach combining PCB design, real-time sensor data collection, and wireless data transmission, this project develops a wearable device capable of monitoring environmental hazards and alerting users to potential dangers. The device's innovative use of IoT technology for fall detection, sound level monitoring, and the identification of hazardous gases introduces a proactive safety management tool, crucial for the industry's future.

Our findings reveal that the implementation of such a device can significantly contribute to reducing the frequency and severity of workplace accidents. Through continuous environmental monitoring and immediate hazard notification, the "WorkSafe Monitor" offers a dual benefit: enhancing workers' safety and providing employers with critical data to implement preventive measures. The technical success of this project, demonstrated through rigorous testing and validation, confirms the feasibility and impact of wearable technologies in high-risk industries.

Exploring the socio-technical landscape, our STS research interrogates the adoption and influence of wearable technologies within society. Focusing on the IoWT, this study evaluates how such devices, beyond their functional utility, reshape human behaviors, privacy considerations, and social interactions. Through a mixed-methods approach, including case studies and interviews, this research sheds light on the evolving relationship between users and wearable technologies, underscoring the role of security and privacy in the technology's social acceptance.

The analysis uncovers a complex interplay between technological advancements and societal norms, where the perceived benefits of wearables are often tempered by concerns over data privacy and security. Notably, our research highlights a growing awareness among users about the implications of sharing personal data, pointing to a need for stringent security measures and ethical considerations in the development of wearable technologies. This societal perspective offers valuable insights into the challenges and opportunities facing the IoWT, guiding future innovations towards more secure and socially responsible solutions.

The convergence of our technical project and STS research elucidates a path forward for wearable technologies, emphasizing the critical importance of safety, security, and societal acceptance. By addressing these dimensions, we can harness the potential of wearables to not only enhance individual well-being but also foster a more interconnected and conscientious technological landscape. This executive summary underscores our commitment to advancing both the technical and societal understanding of wearable technologies, contributing to the broader discourse on their role in shaping a safer, more informed world.

BS (Bachelor of Science)
Internet of Things, Wearable Technology, IoT Security, Wearable Construction Technology

School of Engineering and Applied Science

Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering

Technical Advisor: Adam Barnes

STS Advisor: Pedro Francisco

Technical Team Members: Kamil Urbanowski, Sierra Funk, Victoria Murdock

Issued Date: