University of Southern California
University of Southern California
Mrs. T.H. Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
Mrs. T.H. Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
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Research
Research

Coadaptation of Intelligent Office Desks and Human Users to Promote Worker Productivity, Health and Wellness

Co-Principal Investigator: Burcin Becerik-Gerber (USC Sonny Astani Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering)
Co-Principal Investigator: Shawn Roll

Project Period: August 1, 2018 – July 31, 2021
Funding Source: National Science Foundation; Division of Civil, Mechanical, and Manufacturing Innovation (CMMI)
Award Number: 1763134
Anticipated Award: $667,716

In the U.S., there are 81 million office workers who spend 75% or more of their day working at a desk. Unfortunately, increased daily sitting time is linked to significant health conditions, including cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. Multiple other health-related issues arise in these workers due to poor ergonomic habits. Health conditions are further exacerbated by building-level control of environmental conditions. Our team envisions the emergence of a genuine partnership and coevolution of workers and their workstations. Specifically, we will design an intelligent workstation that learns worker preferences and patterns. Together, the Machine and Human will coevolve through an ongoing, bidirectional process of sensing, feedback and learning to adjust postural, thermal and visual conditions at the workstation and moderate poor behaviors. Several important research challenges will be addressed by the proposed work: (1) machine learning of user preferences, habits and patterns, (2) identification of shared objectives and supportive actions and (3) establishing machine-human symbiosis to take actions that progress toward best practices (e.g., healthiest).