The University of Southampton

Southampton expertise to extend life of wearable device for construction

Published: 19 January 2021
The Safeguard device can fit into a hard hat, armband or pocket.

Electronic engineers at the University of Southampton are helping optimise the performance of a new wearable technology for the construction industry.

Energy harvesting experts in the Smart Electronic Materials and Systems research group have partnered with leading UK construction technology company Mafic to further development of its Safeguard Internet of Things (IoT) solution.

Safeguard is a wearable device that can fit into a hard hat, armband or pocket. Using machine learning, the devices can recognise the unique movement patterns of users completing different tasks and record exactly what is happening.

The new collaboration, funded by a grant from the £5 million SPRINT (SPace Research and Innovation Network for Technology) programme, will exploit technology developed within the School of Electronics and Computer Science.

Dr Alex Weddell, Lecturer in the SEMS group, says: “The key objectives of this SPRINT project are reducing the power consumption of the Safeguard device, harvesting energy and optimising the charging of the hard hat. We have a long history of working in energy harvesting, including the design and development of power management subsystems for CubeSats.

"More recently, we have explored wireless power transfer technology - which also has applications in space. We are excited to explore how energy harvesting from light, movement, or temperature differences can be used to extend the battery life of Mafic's Safeguard IoT device."

The project will allow Mafic customers to be less reliant on a power source and deploy Safeguard into remote environments with minimal supporting infrastructure such as on-board commercial ships, in offshore environments, or in 'not-spots' or remote construction sites.

Read the full story on the main news page.

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