Online Action Recognition for Human Risk Prediction with Anticipated Haptic Alert via Wearables

This paper proposes a framework that combines online human state estimation, action recognition and motion prediction to enable early assessment and prevention of worker biomechanical risk during lifting tasks. The framework leverages the NIOSH index to perform online risk assessment, thus fitting real-time applications. In particular, the human state is retrieved via inverse kinematics/dynamics algorithms from wearable sensor data. Human action recognition and motion prediction are achieved by implementing an LSTM-based Guided Mixture of Experts architecture, which is trained offline and inferred online. With the recognized actions, a single lifting activity is divided into a series of continuous movements and the Revised NIOSH Lifting Equation can be applied for risk assessment. Moreover, the predicted motions enable anticipation of future risks. A haptic actuator, embedded in the wearable system, can alert the subject of potential risk, acting as an active prevention device. The performance of the proposed framework is validated by executing real lifting tasks, while the subject is equipped with the iFeel wearable system.

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