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Empowering the mobile worker by wearable computing

Objective

Why not wear your computer to work?

Wearing computers and computer-controlled devices in the workplace is becoming increasingly popular and is set to become commonplace.

Thanks in large part to work being done by European researchers, wearable computers – or simply ‘wearables’ – come in many forms. These include computers on a belt, spectacles with video displays and location devices stored in shoes.

The devices are all designed to make work easier, quicker and often safer for people in environments where using even a handheld computer is not a viable option.

Originally launched in 2004, the WearIT@work project, is now in its third phase and is still going strong. The project team has focused on developing a new paradigm for wearable mobile computing.

Researchers aim to support complex tasks with a minimum of human-machine interaction, allowing people to focus instead on their work environments.

Field testing prototypes

Initially, four different fields were chosen for pilot studies – healthcare, emergency response, aircraft maintenance, and production management and training. Having set up initial showcases for the projects, the researchers then developed and tested system prototypes, with the final stage being a full-scale industrial pilot.

In healthcare, WearIT@work set out to develop a system that would improve the availability of information in real time. The system also aims to improve communication, data sharing, data management and information documentation among healthcare professionals.

The prototype system is a textile integrated input device that is able to communicate with fixed infrastructure, such as bedside displays and portable devices. Users have access to all available patient information at any time and anywhere in the hospital.

Vision of the future

The researchers envisage a future when doctors and nurses will wear similar equipment everywhere they work, in surgeries and on home visits, as well as in hospitals. They also forecast that convalescents and the elderly will be equipped with wearables allowing medical staff to monitor and advise them.

For the emergency services pilot, which concentrated on fire services, the researchers had several different challenges to meet. They developed a navigation system prototype called LifeNet. The prototype gives a mission controller an exact location fix of everybody during a fire, and helps track them in real time as they move around.

Improved communications between individual fire fighters and with the control centre was achieved via a software component that creates ad-hoc networks using whatever systems happen to be available.

Another software algorithm allows the fire fighters to control the wearable system through voice commands.

Aircraft maintenance vest

The maintenance pilot test involved equipping aircraft maintenance personnel with a vest integrated with a variety of wearable technologies. For the fourth pilot, workers on a car production line were given all of the information they required to perform production tasks.

Overall, the project resulted in a technological repository of hardware and software wearable solutions for an increasing number of workplace scenarios.

Leaflet | Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors, Credit: EC-GISCO, © EuroGeographics for the administrative boundaries

Coordinator Contact

Otthein HERZOG (PROF.)

Coordinator Contact

Otthein HERZOG (PROF.)

Coordinator

UNIVERSITAET BREMEN

Address

Universitaetsalle 21-23
28359 Bremen

Germany

Activity type

Higher or Secondary Education Establishments

EU Contribution

€ 2 284 165

Administrative Contact

Otthein Herzog (Prof.)

Participants (44)

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SYSTEMA HUMAN INFORMATION SYSTEMS GMBH

Austria

EU Contribution

€ 252 500

OBEROESTERREICHISCHE GESUNDHEITS- UND SPITALS-AG

Austria

EU Contribution

€ 289 032

ROSENBAUER INTERNATIONAL AKTIENGESELLSCHAFT

Austria

EU Contribution

€ 347 202

INSTITUT FUER MEDIZINISCHE INFORMATIK UND TECHNIK TIROL, GMBH

Austria

EU Contribution

€ 290 000

MULTITEL ASBL

Belgium

EU Contribution

€ 463 125

Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich

Switzerland

EU Contribution

€ 507 000

SKODA AUTO A.S.

Czechia

EU Contribution

€ 54 733

EUROPAEISCHES MICROSOFT INNOVATIONS CENTER GMBH

Germany

EU Contribution

€ 288 900

UNIVERSITAET PADERBORN

Germany

EU Contribution

€ 107 500

SONY INTERNATIONAL (EUROPE) GMBH

Germany

SAP AG

Germany

EU Contribution

€ 524 025

BIBA - BREMER INSTITUT FUER PRODUKTION UND LOGISTIK GMBH

Germany

EU Contribution

€ 305 923

Universität Passau

Germany

EU Contribution

€ 200 400

FRAUNHOFER-GESELLSCHAFT ZUR FOERDERUNG DER ANGEWANDTEN FORSCHUNG E.V

Germany

EU Contribution

€ 601 903

UNITY AKTIENGESELLSCHAFT FUER UNTERNEHMENSFUEHRUNG UND INFORMATIONSTECHNOLOGIE

Germany

EU Contribution

€ 453 900

INFOCONSULT GESELLSCHAFT FUER INFORMATIONSTECHNIK MBH

Germany

EU Contribution

€ 608 764

VEREIN ZUR FOERDERUNG DER WISSENSCHAFTLICHEN FORSCHUNG IN DER FREIEN HANSESTADT BREMEN E.V.

Germany

EU Contribution

€ 281 277

DOCOMO COMMUNICATIONS LABORATORIES EUROPE GMBH

Germany

EU Contribution

€ 178 750

BREMER INVESTITIONS-GESELLSCHAFT MBH

Germany

EU Contribution

€ 51 680

BIA BREMER INNOVATIONS-AGENTUR GMBH

Germany

EU Contribution

€ 24 320

SIEMENS BUSINESS SERVICES GMBH & CO. OHG

Germany

EU Contribution

€ 218 837

CARL ZEISS

Germany

EU Contribution

€ 505 050

SIEMENS AG

Germany

EU Contribution

€ 303 770

MOBILE INTERNET TECHNOLOGY A/S

Denmark

EU Contribution

€ 223 250

FUNDACION TEKNIKER

Spain

EU Contribution

€ 377 975

EKAHAU OY

Finland

EU Contribution

€ 6 924

THALES COMMUNICATIONS SA

France

EU Contribution

€ 460 760

PREFECTURE DE POLICE DE PARIS

France

EU Contribution

€ 54 353

EADS CCR

France

EU Contribution

€ 117 614

IONIAN TECHN LTD.

Greece

EU Contribution

€ 263 400

NIKOLAOS PETRAKOPOULOS EBAE

Greece

EU Contribution

€ 11 499

CORK INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY

Ireland

EU Contribution

€ 124 700

EDNA PASHER PHD & ASSOCIATES MANAGEMENT CONSULTANT LTD

Israel

EU Contribution

€ 333 750

TEAM TECNOLOGIA ENERGIA AMBIENTE MATERIALI S.R.L.

Italy

EU Contribution

€ 224 400

COMUNITA MONTANA DELLA LUNIGIANA

Italy

EU Contribution

€ 20 600

KARADA ITALIA S.R.L.

Italy

EU Contribution

€ 86 750

TXT E-SOLUTIONS SPA

Italy

EU Contribution

€ 85 745

GRADO ZERO ESPACE SRL

Italy

EU Contribution

€ 198 250

ACTVALUE CONSULTING & SOLUTIONS SRL

Italy

EU Contribution

€ 99 385

HEWLETT PACKARD ITALIANA SRL

Italy

EU Contribution

€ 624 000

STICHTING HOGESCHOOL VOOR DE KUNSTEN UTRECHT

Netherlands

EU Contribution

€ 55 645

COMARCH S.A.

Poland

EU Contribution

€ 185 782

MOBILERA BILISIM VE ILETISIM TEKNOLOJILERI TICARET A.S.

Turkey

EU Contribution

€ 264 000

IN2 SEARCH INTERFACES DEVELOPMENT LIMITED

United Kingdom

EU Contribution

€ 46 102

Project information

Grant agreement ID: 004216

Status

Closed project

  • Start date

    1 June 2004

  • End date

    31 May 2009

Funded under:

FP6-IST

  • Overall budget:

    € 23 375 850

  • EU contribution

    € 14 297 149

Coordinated by:

UNIVERSITAET BREMEN

Germany