A contingency plan support system that collects and monitors data, allowing the restructuring and optimization of the industrial production line is one of several projects that the Fraunhofer AICOS research center (FhP-AICOS) is developing through the adaptation of technologies created within previous projects. This technology, which aims to be an asset in the adaptation of companies to the labor reality, can be applied in industries of different sectors of activity and dimensions.
The consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic will certainly be many and at several levels. Various companies will have to adapt, very quickly, by adjusting production lines. Thus, FhP-AICOS created a support system for contingency plans in the industrial context. Through the use of wearables and sensing technology, and using artificial intelligence techniques, it will be possible to perceive and monitor work flows and dynamics in industrial environments, in order to allow reintegration into work contexts during the transition period ( after the mitigation phase), avoiding, for example, the distance of infection and complying with health recommendations. This technology considers the proliferation channels, but also the work settings (distance, travel times and routes between workstations, the stations of the production line that require social contact, etc.) and the production requirements.
With acknowledged competencies in the areas of artificial intelligence, cyber-physical systems and user-centred design, FhP-AICOS is currently using all its experience and know-how in the development of new projects and in adapting technologies already created to the new reality brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. Health, education and industrial production are some of the areas covered in these projects that should be applied in the short term.
Existing for over 10 years, and with projects and partnerships signed in the areas of health, retail, agriculture and energy, the FhP-AICOS research center uses, more than ever, its technology, scientific knowledge and experience for the benefit of society. Monitoring technologies, machine learning and computer vision techniques, motion analysis and production parameters are, at this stage, being applied to projects such as, for example, helping to restructure and optimize industrial production lines, in order to comply with health recommendations.
In addition to the industry, other projects are being developed and adapted to other sectors of activity, such as health. Using the digital fabrication equipment (3D printers), FhP-AICOS is producing face shields for professionals from several Portuguese health institutions. So far, face shields have been donated to IPO Porto, ARS Norte and Hospital da Prelada. As a member of the Smart Health Network, from the Health Cluster Portugal (HCP), FhP-AICOS is also collaborating in the development of three technological solutions that seek to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and which should be launched on the market within 3 months:
> a bracelet for people infected with COVID-19, or with suspected infection, who are recovering at home and can be monitored remotely (technology that already exists for people with lung diseases, diabetes, heart failure and Alzheimer's, now adapted to COVID-19);
> the creation of a technical support center for the use of ventilators;
> creation of an e-learning platform that provides content on COVID-19 for health professionals.
The objective of these three solutions is to support the effort and dedication of health professionals in combating COVID-19 using the know-how, experience and knowledge in the fields of medical technologies and digital health from both FhP-AICOS and HCP associates involved in developing these solutions.