FW-HTF-P: Collaborative Research: Wearable Safety and Health Assistive Robot Collaboration for Skilled Construction Workers

Project Details


The research objective of this FW-HTF planning project is to build a synergistic team and provide symbiotic solutions to develop and deploy wearable safety and health assistive robots for skilled construction workers. Currently, construction workers suffer intense physical effort, and serious safety and health risk in hazardous working environments. As a result, construction industry becomes one of the highest-risk private sectors in the US. Shortage of skilled workers brings additional challenges and pressures to construction industry to improve workers' safety and health. Wearable robotic technology provides promising potentials to prevent work-related musculoskeletal disorders, assess and assist physical and fatigue, and learn and train worker skills in construction trades. The project will enable the development and deployment of personalized wearable assistive robot collaboration for skilled construction workers. The researchers will also develop a number of integrated research and education programs to attract students from underrepresented groups into engineering and involve undergraduate students into research.

Although robotics technologies have been increasingly used in construction applications, most focus on the use of robots to help conduct construction tasks and few discusses the use of industrial exoskeletons for improving workers' safety and health. In this planning project, the team of researchers plan to build a synergistic team and identify potential topics and symbiotic solutions to achieve the above research goal. Specifically, this project will emphasize on: (1) develop light-weight, flexible, high-performance, personalized wearable exoskeletons for construction workers; (2) develop machine learning-based human skill modeling and training in construction, and (3) initiate new cross-disciplinary collaboration and foster engagement with industry partners and stakeholders. The proposed robotic development and pilot study will provide deep understanding of technical and socio-economic challenges for integrating robotic technologies into existing socio-technical ecosystems of work. The planning grant will also study the effects of the significant shifts in human work on individual, organization and industries with a focus specifically on construction work. The ultimate goal of this project is to develop the necessary research personnel, research infrastructure, and foundational work to expand the opportunities for studying future technology, future workers, and future work at the level of a FW-HTF full research proposal.

This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

Effective start/end date10/1/209/30/21


  • National Science Foundation: $90,000.00


Explore the research topics touched on by this project. These labels are generated based on the underlying awards/grants. Together they form a unique fingerprint.