Wearable tech startups focus on workplace health and safety

Posted on 13th May 2015 09:31:28 by Unassigned
Wearable tech startups focus on workplace health and safety

Entrepreneur Stacey Wallin says “shiny” wearable devices for consumers and athletes, such as the Apple Watch, may hog the limelight, but she believes her technology startup will come out a winner by zeroing in on wearables for the workplace.

The cofounder and CEO of LifeBooster told the Georgia Straight that her Vancouver-based company is focused on developing wearables for use in occupational health and safety at mines and construction sites. It’s not the only local startup hoping to cash in on this market.

“We really wanted to take this technology and apply it to something that may be a little bit less glamorous but has the ability and the impact to save people’s lives and to really, really help increase their quality of life,” Wallin said in a meeting room at Wavefront, a federally funded accelerator for wireless companies.

Seated next to LifeBooster cofounder and vice-president Bryan Statham, Wallin explained that the startup is designing and prototyping three wireless sensors that, when worn voluntarily by workers, will read their biometric signals and offer an accurate picture of their bodies’ movements. This data will help companies pinpoint situations where labourers are at high risk of back strain, carpal tunnel syndrome, repetitive strain injuries, and other musculoskeletal afflictions.

LifeBooster is in the process of filing a provisional application for a patent, so Wallin and Statham were tight-lipped about the technical details. But they noted that their hardware and software form a real-time, 3-D ergonomics monitoring system.

“It’s going to show the exertion, the repetition, the overall picture of which parts of the body are being used the most and whether or not they’re reaching the threshold of the recommended range of motion and torque for those body parts,” Wallin said.

Statham noted that LifeBooster’s system is aimed at the construction, oil and gas, mining, and warehousing industries but could be deployed by any company making use of manual labour. The startup hopes to raise a round of seed financing in the next several months and start workplace trials as soon as this fall.

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