I have written several articles that shows the connection between consumer and automotive technology. The most obvious must be the use of lithium based batteries that started in consumer devices such as laptops and with greater power and length of use, have now been fitted to electric cars.
Another example is Bluetooth, which has simplified how mobile devices share content or data with a vehicle – I use it to stream podcasts from my phone through the car speakers when I am commuting.
Wearable tech is now starting to creep over into the industry and in a way that I hadn’t thought about until I read an article about a company called Dorsavi who have developed wearable tech for athletes. Again, I have been using wearable tech for health purposes for several years – mine from Withings (now Nokia) tracks my steps, weight, sleep and heart health. I’m no athlete, however I am focused on living longer so that I can enjoy life more!
Dorsavi developed tech to help track data for athletes to manage their training programs to reduce the risk of injury and to maximise the success of the program. They also developed a sister product (ViSafe) that is geared towards workplace safety. The same theory applies to factory workers as it does to athletes – performing certain bodily movements at the wrong time can lead to an injury and no one wants to be injured in the line of work or competition!
Dorsavi has developed wearable sensors under the ViSafe brand that collects data that can be combined with data from other sources to build a picture about how a workforce moves throughout the day. The sensors record movement and muscle activity and the map produced allows Health and Safety officers to assess where the danger points are in relation to how a worker is bending, lifting or stretching to complete a task. This can then lead to a redefined work process that is safer and helps to reduce downtime and the associated costs of lower output.
Caterpillar were the first to use the Dorsavi technology in their manufacturing plants and last year, Toyota and Jaguar Land Rover also started to implement the technology. Car factories have come a long way in the last 100 years and are now some of the best workplaces to be in. Safety is paramount and the auto industry is keen to find ways of manufacturing cars quickly and safely with minimal heavy lifting or functions that could cause an injury. Dorsavi was contracted to assess the factories with a view to finding areas of improvement.
This is another example where technology is being used in the automotive industry that car owners wouldn’t necessarily know – or care – about, however is being used to improve the quality of the vehicles they buy. There are potential cost savings to be made by the use of such equipment and I find it interesting that Toyota are using the sensors because this ties in very well with their Kaizen quality and “just in time” methodology. The data provided could help them redefine a manufacturing process that makes it safer and easier to build components for a vehicle.
Dorsavi is an Australian company based in Melbourne with operations in Europe and the US focused on bringing wearable technology to a wide variety of markets.