University of Southern California
University of Southern California
USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy

Musculoskeletal Sonography and Occupational Performance Laboratory

Active Research

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. 

Intelligent Workstation

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:

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. Show abstract


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.