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Wearable technology to improve craftsmen’s health

Snickers Workwear - Ireland

With a proud history of exploring new techniques within workwear Snickers Workwear has initiated their first project of wearable technology. 100 craftsmen across five countries are taking part in a test to see how wearable technology can improve working health and in the process change the way we look at workwear.

Wearables are electronics that can be worn on the body, either as an accessory or as part of material used in clothing. One of the major features of wearable technology is its ability to connect to the Internet, enabling data to be exchanged between a device and a network.

Spurred on by the sports and fashion industry, the majority of wearables are wrist worn. But they can also be clipped to the body, hung around the neck or sewn woven into the fabrics, such as magnetic strips for measuring heart rate and temperature.

In 2016 Snickers Workwear launched a test in which 100 craftsmen across five countries work in trousers featuring wearable technology measuring their performance. Heading the project is Nicole Rimér, Head of Design at Snickers Workwear.

How did you come in contact with wearables?

Seeing wearables being introduced in sportswear we asked ourselves how this could be applied to workwear and add to working functionality and comfort. We quickly identified health as a key area where wearable technology can make a difference for professional craftsmen, most of which already have a smart phone in their pockets.

We quickly identified health as a key area where wearable technology can make a difference for professional craftsmen, most of which already have a smart phone in their pockets.

How was the test carried out?

We mount a wearable device on a pair of 6-series work trousers. The device collects data such as temperature, noise levels and knee impact during the workday.

How can a craftsman benefit?

This data can tell the craftsmen about his need for proper knee protection or notify when noise reaches a critical level. More features can be added in future tests.

Do you see wearables changing your approach to design and product development?

The scope becomes bigger. Development in workwear is naturally centred around functionality, comfort and design. Even though work health has always been a focus area, we now see even bigger possibilities by adding new technology. The data that we gather from our end-users will feed into the development process.

Would you say craftsmen are good at work health?

Over the years we have seen that craftsmen tend to think that they are well covered when it comes to health and working conditions. The reality can be quite different. Attitudes like “It won’t happen to me” or that safety is unpractical are common. Lack of general awareness another.

Yet this is exactly why we believe smart workwear can make a difference. After all, creating a better workday for craftsmen will always be our mission.

Facts about wearables

Wearables, or wearable technology, are electronic equipment we wear and bring with us anywhere we go.

· Smart phones and smart watches are commonplace today, but the development is constantly pushing the boundaries of what is possible. Other examples of wearables are head mounted displays and smart clothing, smart jewellery and implatables. Even footwear can incorporate technical functionality and connect with other devices via Bluetooth or Wifi.

Research has shown that employees equipped with wearable technology are more both more productive (a 8.5% increase) and more satisfied at work.

· Half of women and two thirds of men in a recent survey have a piece of wearable tech or want one. By 2020, over 50 billion devices connected to the Internet will exist worldwide.

Source: Forbes Magazine

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