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U.K. Technology Company Tracking Vibration Exposure Expands to Connected-Worker Solution

Reactec is preparing the launch of a system to monitor the conditions and locations of employees, ensuring their safety and enabling them to summon help, via HF RFID labels on tools and ID badges from CoreRFID.
By Claire Swedberg

Those already using the HAVwear system are still leveraging the docking station for the wearable devices to recharge batteries, and to link users with their wristbands. The docking station comes with an HF RFID reader, while operators typically carry RFID-enabled cards. Therefore, as a staff member begins a shift and takes a wristband, he or she also presents his or her own ID card, which contains an encoded unique ID linked to that individual. In that way, the software can assign that wristband to that specific employee.

Thus far, Anderson reports, 25,000 of the wearable devices have been shipped to 650 companies, including construction firms and manufacturers. With the Connected Worker system, however, a new device is being introduced. The company needed sensor and connectivity technology with sufficient battery power to manage culled data from multiple sensors, as well as to send data via a cellular connection. Therefore, the device, which is about the size of a deck of cards, can be attached to a belt rather than being worn on a wristband. Its built-in sensors include a motion detector, an accelerometer, a gyroscope, a pressure sensor, GPS functionality, 2-G mobile and Bluetooth, with a color LED screen.

The device's sensors can be used for fall detection to identify when a worker may need assistance. It can also be manually triggered by an operator who requires help. A user can simply press a button on the device, and it will then forward its GPS-based location, along with the unique ID of the individual to whom the device is assigned. What's more, the system could track other environmental risks, such as ultraviolet exposure, provided that UV sensors were built into the device.

Reactec makes its own hardware, including RFID readers that interrogate the tags provided by CoreRFID. The latter has been providing tags to Reactec since the original tool-tagging system was launched in 2007. "We're now taking preorders and are shipping in May," Anderson states. "We have a pretty aggressive development schedule, so betas and pilots start next month" with Reactec's customers.

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