Working around gasoline-powered hand tools makes you susceptible to carbon monoxide poisoning. It’s difficult to detect this deadly gas, so a group of Virginia Tech students and professors came up with an award-winning solution.
They integrated a pulse oximetry sensor into a construction helmet to monitor the user’s blood gas saturation levels. By wearing the hat, the worker would be warned about the carbon monoxide when levels reached a 99-percent probability of poisoning.
“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.”
The Virginia Tech group won a Best Paper Award for their research and findings, reports Phys.org.
[Photo Caption: Jason B. Forsyth, right, of Durham, N.C., and a Ph.D. candidate in computer engineering, places a wearable computing system on a helmet to protect construction workers from carbon monoxide poisoning. The work garnered the Virginia Tech researchers a Best Paper award. Credit: Virginia Tech]