November 22, 2017
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New AI system attempts to reduce risk of heatstroke

By The Japan News, Special to the BDN
CHINA STRINGER NETWORK | REUTERS | BDN
CHINA STRINGER NETWORK | REUTERS | BDN
A child plays in a water fountain to cool off on a hot day in Beijing, China, July 12, 2017.

Major corporations have introduced systems utilizing artificial intelligence and information technology to prevent heatstroke among employees, including construction workers.

The systems are thought to prevent heatstroke by analyzing data on workers’ physical condition and the air temperature, among other data, and transmitting the results to workers and their supervisors.

Fujitsu has developed a system integrating AI into wristwatch sensors. The sensor monitors a worker’s heart rate, number of steps and how much the person has worked, as well as the air temperature and humidity.

The data are then analyzed by AI. When the risk of heatstroke increases, the worker’s wristwatch vibrates and a message is sent to the supervisor’s smartphone recommending the worker rest or drink water.

The AI calculates the risk of heatstroke based on data collected last summer from 27 men in their 20s to 40s, including their heart rate while working outdoors.

The risk of heatstroke is indicated through a four-stage scale.

Fujitsu introduced the system on a trial basis at the end of June, when it was used to monitor the condition of security guards at its Kawasaki factory.

The company plans to begin selling the system to construction firms and other companies at the end of this month. Plans also are underway to develop a version for elderly residents of nursing facilities.

Obayashi, a major construction company, has developed a system that analyzes heart rate data sent from a sensor attached to workers’ underwear.

It will be introduced at about 20 construction sites across the country from July 20. Obayashi also plans to sell the system to other construction companies.

“Some people may not realize they’re suffering heatstroke,” said Kazuya Suzuki, a senior researcher at the Ohara Memorial Institute for Science of Labor. “We can prevent heatstroke by utilizing systems that properly monitor one’s physical condition.”

According to the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry, roughly 500 people die or become extremely sick as a result of heatstroke during work. In 2010, a year of record-high average summer temperatures, the figure reached 656.

 


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