The aim of the project is to develop a personalized Smart Insole system FOr Older WORkers to reduce bacK pain (SI FOOtWORK). The SI-FOOtWORK system will consist of an insole that, equipped with pressure sensors, can measure lifting workloads of older workers. By integrating state-of-the art low power technology, i. e. Narrowband IoT2 (NB-IoT), the insole can wirelessly and ubiquitously communicate with an adaptable Artificial Intelligence (AI) lifting engine, that can evaluate lifting amounts and correctness.
This information will be visualised to the older workers through an application running on their mobile application, a smartwatch, or a discrete wristband or patch (depending on personal and workplace preferences). These immediate notifications will empower the user to avoid and stop problematic lifting situations, thus reducing the risk of developing back pains due to overexertion.
The SI-FOOtWORK system will be developed in a co-creation process with primary and secondary end users, and tested in Denmark, Norway and Romania.
The overall objective of SI-FOOtWORK is to create an ICT solution that will improve the quality of life for older adults, still in the labor market, and will raise awareness and empowerment regarding the working situation for older adults, who in their job functions inherently are exposed to the risk of developing back pains caused by many, heavy or wrong torsion lifts. Such high risk groups are blue collar workers in the construction and crafts industry (predominantly men), and personnel within the caregiving sector (predominantly women). By developing an insole equipped with pressure sensors, that wirelessly communicates through NB-IoT to an AI engine analyzing lifting in real-time, the user can be notified of unsuitable lifts, and thus enabled to take necessary measures before back pains and resulting long term illness or retirement occurs.
The project outcomes will directly address the expected impacts. Firstly, with respect to technological innovation, we will develop and validate a robust, easy-to-use and cost-effective solution targeted older workers assisting them to prevent, mitigate and correct risk behaviours when lifting – leading to keeping workers active and healthy for longer time.
Secondly, the SI-FOOtWORK technology will reduce the recurrence rate of ageing-related events that compromise efficiency and/or ability of older individuals to work – thus contributing to the sustainability of social security and healthcare systems.
Finally, a successful market introduction and exploitation of the SI-FOOtWORK technology will have strong impacts on growth of the European active and assisted living sector, employment and industrial competitiveness, specifically on the consortium SMEs, securing alignment with the AAL programme with its focus on improving the living conditions of older adults, while strengthening the international industrial opportunities for SMEs within the area of ICT.