A major source of injuries in the workplace — slips, trips and falls (STFs) — may be avoidable thanks to new technology from the National University of Singapore (NUS).

Working alongside NUS startup FlexoSense, NUS researchers have developed a smart insole for tracking workplace STF risks in real time in industries like construction, manufacturing, maritime and transportation among others.

Source: NUSSource: NUS

According to the researchers, the smart insole features a series of pressure sensors for tracking foot pressure along with an inertial measurement unit sensor that monitors changes in motion, detects a person’s balance, and records changes in foot pressure and motion that occur during STF events.

Captured in real time, indicators of STF events can reportedly reveal data about where STFs might be occurring in the workplace and subsequently highlight these high-risk areas so that management can implement mitigation measures.

"Usually, slips, trips and falls are unreported. By deploying this smart insole solution in the workplace, companies can be proactive in mitigating these incidents. When a person encounters a slip, trip or fall, there will be unique changes in motion as well as pressure distribution exerted by the feet. Our smart insole captures the information automatically, and by tracking these changes, companies can identify high risk areas in the workplace and implement preventive measures in a timely manner," explained the NUS team.

Further, the data captured by the insole can be made accessible to both workers and management using a mobile app and accompanying dashboard, offering greater transparency of STF events and the timely reporting of STF events.

Because STFs are major cost drivers for most companies thanks to lost productivity and associated medical expenses and administrative costs, the researchers suggest that the smart insole promises to reduce such costs by limiting the number of STF events.

The smart insoles are detailed in the accompanying video that appears courtesy of NUS.

To contact the author of this article, email mdonlon@globalspec.com