OPERATOR project values human aspects and promotes the well-being of industry professionals



Ensuring the well-being (physical and mental) of the industry worker is the objective of OPERATOR, a project that is now starting in partnership with the research center Fraunhofer Portugal AICOS (FhP-AICOS). Focused on the human component, the research project starts with a field study of professionals and an analysis of their needs, from which it will be possible to observe elements such as the ergonomic position, intensity, working time and environment (such as temperature), to then create technology to prevent injuries, accidents at work and occupational diseases, while increasing productivity, competitiveness and industrial modernization.

Through the use of sensors, it will be possible to collect and analyze various data relating to industry workers and their working environment, thus allowing for better planning, organization and work control. These sensors will make it possible to collect various data, both quantitative and qualitative, on the daily lives of professionals in the industrial sector, namely data on the movements and postures assumed in the exercise of their jobs and, in a more subjective aspect, on their expectations and ambitions at the professional level and perception of quality of work, having as reference the Eurofound's work quality index. In addition to the automatic data collection sensors, professionals will have at their disposal a platform for entering data and viewing their recorded information.

At a time when automation is being discussed as a risk of replacing the human being in industry, OPERATOR analyses not only the physical well-being of workers, but also the impact of that automation on people's mental health. Within the scope of the project, FhP-AICOS will be responsible for the technological development of the sensors and the digital platform, as well as for the real-time study and monitoring of workers.

With a global value that exceeds 1.88 million euros, financed by MIT and the National Innovation Agency (ANI), OPERATOR results from a partnership between several institutions, such as Fraunhofer AICOS (FhP-AICOS), Zenithwings, NST Apparel Lda, Volkswagen Autoeuropa, Faculty of Science and Technology, University Nova de Lisboa (FCT Nova), Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, University of Porto (FPCEUP), University of Minho (UM), Institute of Medical Engineering and Science (IMES) and Controlconsul - Consultoria, Serviços e Representações, Lda.

The OPERATOR project highlights the skills of FhP-AICOS in the areas of user-centred design, artificial intelligence and cyber-physical systems, as well as its fields of study - user research in different environments; computer vision; data analysis of wearable sensors; cognitive and decision support systems; and the internet of things. In order to have a positive impact on users' daily lives, FhP-AICOS proposes to create excellent and easy-to-use technology.