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PROPERTY & CASUALTY
MAY 22, 2020
Get Help with Haptic Technology
Continuously monitoring the jobsite for unsafe behavior is a tough task, especially with current social distancing guidelines. But what if there was a technology that allowed employees to work independently, while still holding them accountable for risky behavior? Haptic technology, which is primarily used in wearable devices, can do just that.
What is haptic technology?
Haptic technology is a tactile feedback technology which uses the sense of touch by applying forces, vibrations or motions to the user.
With wearables, this generally means a vibration from the device alerts a worker if he or she is lifting, bending, twisting or performing other operations in a dangerous manner. Now, this technology is even being used for contact tracing and to monitor social distancing efforts in the workplace.
Where else is haptic technology being used?
There are numerous other devices that use haptic technology. For instance, in everyday life, smartphones and smart watches have haptic technology that allows users to interact with content on the screen. This same concept is utilized in virtual reality training scenarios. Content on the screen can be reinforced with different touch sensations, so workers can easily determine which actions are right and wrong. Exoskeletons also use the technology in a similar manner.
What is the future of haptic technology for workplace safety?
As haptic technology becomes more advanced, safety managers can anticipate seeing it added to all sorts of equipment. Whether it’s personal protective equipment, tools or machinery, the future will include many more ways to alert workers of risky behavior.
Training will also improve, as haptic technology may be able to mimic the sense of touch a worker should feel if operating a tool safely. For instance, striking a hammer without contorting the wrist should feel different than if a worker were to bend unsafely. Advanced haptics may go so far as to mimic this sensation in future training instances.