Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Equipping a construction helmet with a sensor can detect the onset of carbon monoxide poisoning

Date:
August 17, 2013
Source:
Virginia Tech
Summary:
Researchers integrated a specific type of sensor into a typical construction helmet to allow continuous and noninvasive monitoring of construction workers’ blood gas saturation levels. The results of their study showed that a user of this helmet would be warned of impending carbon monoxide poisoning with a probability of greater than 99 percent.

Jason B. Forsyth is placing a wearable computer system for carbon monoxide detection on a helmet.
Credit: Image courtesy of Virginia Tech

Researchers have urged the use of a wearable computing system installed in a helmet to protect construction workers from carbon monoxide poisoning, a serious lethal threat in this industry.

This award will be presented at the August 17-21, 2013 Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) Conference on Automation Science and Engineering .

Carbon monoxide poisoning is a significant problem for construction workers in both residential and industrial settings. The danger exists because the exhaust from gasoline-powered hand tools can quickly build up in enclosed spaces and easily overcome the tool's users and nearby co-workers.

In the paper, the researchers explained how they integrated a pulse oximetry sensor into a typical construction helmet to allow continuous and noninvasive monitoring of workers' blood gas saturation levels. The results of their study showed that a user of this helmet would be warned of impending carbon monoxide poisoning with a probability of greater than 99 percent.

The award-winning research and resulting paper was written by Jason B. Forsyth of Durham, N.C., and a Ph.D. candidate in computer engineering, his adviser Thomas L. Martin, professor of electrical and computer engineering, Deborah Young-Corbett, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering and a member of the Myers-Lawson School of Construction, and Ed Dorsa, associate professor of industrial design.

Ten Virginia Tech students participated in the study conducted on the university campus. They mimicked simple tasks of construction workers.

To show the feasibility of monitoring for carbon monoxide poisoning without subjecting the users to dangerous conditions, the researchers used a prototype for monitoring the blood oxygen saturation. The difference for monitoring for oxygen and for carbon monoxide differs only in the number of wavelengths of light employed, so if this monitoring proved feasible, then the monitoring for carbon monoxide would be feasible as well.

They selected a helmet for the installation of a wearable computer because they needed a design that could be worn year round which ruled out seasonal clothing such as overalls or coats. They also wanted a design that was socially acceptable, and one that struck a balance between comfort, usability, and feasibility.

"This helmet is only a first step toward our long-term vision of having a network of wearable and environmental sensors and intelligent personal protective gear on construction sites that will improve safety for workers," according to their report. "While this helmet targets carbon monoxide poisoning, we believe there are compelling opportunities for wearable computing in reducing injuries due to falls, electrocution, and particulate inhalation, as well as workers on foot being struck by vehicles."

Martin is a past recipient of both the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers and the National Science Foundation CAREER Award, both furthering his research in the design of electronic textiles and "smart" clothes.

Young-Corbett is working in a new field of engineering known as Prevention through Design or PtD. This optimal method of preventing occupational illnesses, injuries, and fatalities is to "design out" the hazards and risks; thereby, eliminating the need to control them during work operations. She is also the associate director of the Center for Innovation in Construction Safety and Health Research of the Institute of Critical Technology and Applied Science at Virginia Tech.

Dorsa has a National Science Foundation funded studio in interdisciplinary product development, working with faculty from the College of Engineering and the College of Business' Department of Marketing. In 2005, Design Intelligence chose him as one of the 40 most admired industrial design faculty in the U.S.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Virginia Tech. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Virginia Tech. "Equipping a construction helmet with a sensor can detect the onset of carbon monoxide poisoning." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 August 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130817205511.htm>.
Virginia Tech. (2013, August 17). Equipping a construction helmet with a sensor can detect the onset of carbon monoxide poisoning. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130817205511.htm
Virginia Tech. "Equipping a construction helmet with a sensor can detect the onset of carbon monoxide poisoning." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130817205511.htm (accessed April 24, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

UN Joint Mission Starts Removing Landmines in Cyprus

UN Joint Mission Starts Removing Landmines in Cyprus

AFP (Apr. 23, 2014) The UN mission in Cyprus (UNFICYP) led a mine clearance demonstration on Wednesday in the UN-controlled buffer zone where demining operations are being conducted near the Cypriot village of Mammari. Duration: 01:00 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Air Force: $4.2B Saved from Grounding A-10s

Air Force: $4.2B Saved from Grounding A-10s

AP (Apr. 23, 2014) Speaking about the future of the United States Air Force, Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh says the choice to divest the A-10 fleet was logical and least impactful. (April 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jets Fuel Jump in Boeing's Revenue

Jets Fuel Jump in Boeing's Revenue

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 23, 2014) A sharp rise in revenue for commercial jets offset a decline in Boeing's defense business. And a big increase in deliveries lifted profitability. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Is North Korea Planning Nuclear Test #4?

Is North Korea Planning Nuclear Test #4?

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) South Korean officials say North Korea is preparing to conduct another nuclear test, but is Pyongyang just bluffing this time? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins