Enhancing Office Worker Wellness
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, most specifically lighting and temperature.
One method of enhancing office worker health is to leverage advances in artificial intelligence to develop an intelligent workstation that can support healthy environmental and behavioral changes either automatically or via an interactive interface. Our transdisciplinary research team envisions the emergence of a genuine partnership and coevolution of workers and their workstations. Specifically, we are working to design an intelligent workstation that learns worker preferences and patterns. We are exploring the ways in which an intelligent workstation and worker can 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 our work:
- Machine learning of user preferences, habits and patterns
- Identification of shared objectives and supportive actions
- Establishing machine-human symbiosis to take actions that progress toward best practices (e.g., healthiest)
Watch our video below to learn more about this exciting project:
Coadaptation of Intelligent Office Desks and Human Users to Promote Worker Productivity, Health and Wellness
National Science Foundation - Division of Civil, Mechanical, and Manufacturing Innovation (CMMI)
Co-PIs: Becerik, Roll, Lucas
Award Number: 1763134
Total Funding: $667,716
Funding Period: 8/1/18 - 7/31/21
Aryal, A., Becerik-Gerber, B., Anselmo, F., Roll, S. C., & Lucas, G. (2019). Smart desks to promote comfort, health and productivity in offices: A vision for future workplaces. Frontiers in Built Environment, 5, 76. https://doi.org/10.3389/fbuil.2019.00076 Show abstract
People spend most of their day in buildings, and a large portion of the energy in buildings is used to control the indoor environment for creating acceptable conditions for occupants. However, majority of the building systems are controlled based on a ‘one size fits all’ scheme which cannot account for individual occupant preferences. This leads to discomfort, low satisfaction and negative impacts on occupants’ productivity, health and well-being. In this paper, we describe our vision of how recent advances in Internet of Things (IoT) and machine learning can be used to add intelligence to an office desk to personalize the environment around the user. The smart desk can learn individual user preferences for the indoor environment, personalize the environment based on user preferences, and act as an intelligent support system for improving user comfort, health and productivity. We briefly describe the recent advances made in different domains that can be leveraged to enhance occupant experience in buildings and describe the overall framework for the smart desk. We conclude the paper with a discussion of possible avenues for further research.
Keywords: Personalized environments, Smart desks, IoT (internet of things), Smart buildings, Indoor environment quality (IEQ)
Aryal A, Becerik-Gerbera B, Anselmo F, Roll SC, Lucas G. (2018). Smart desk to promote health and productivity. Poster presentation at: Health in Buildings for Today and Tomorrow: An Interdisciplinary Conference on Health and the Sustainable Built Environment. Poster presentation at: NIH/NSF/CDC/GSA Health in Buildings Roundtable; Bethesda, MD.