Intelligent furniture and offices will allow the design of healthier environments for workers

News Infurma29/06/2016

How to renovate and create new working spaces where users can carry out their daily activities with a high degree of well-being and efficiency is one of the objectives pursued by “Factories of the Future: Product-Service sYMBIOtic SYStems, PSYMBIOSYS, a H2020 European project whose members met last June 22nd through 24th at the Metal-processing, Furniture, Wood, and Packaging Technology Institute, AIDIMME headquarters in Valencia.

AIDIMME, as project partner, along with the other eleven representatives from six different European countries defined a set of queries about physical and emotional perception on the use of office furniture and the workspace “to adapt and generate new healthier environments for the development of the daily working activities”. During the meeting, AIDIMME researchers presented a network of wireless sensors placed in furniture located at the three selected pilot rooms. The values of these sensors along with the answers of the workers, will allow the definition of an ideal workspace customized to the needs of each company.

Ergonomic and environmental alerts

The European consortium has developed a “Product Service System”, a platform visible from all devices that issues alerts to users and decision-makers within the organization, every time user defined thresholds are exceeded for a specific activity. In addition, a repository with all information accumulated by the sensors is stored and managed. All this information is preserved and follows the necessary privacy policies.

During the meeting it was highlighted that all information gathered by the sensors was real, and perfectly complemented with the workers opinion, the latter subject to the individual characteristics of each person. The results of this research will make “the implementation of the product-service” possible.


In addition to the direct benefit that company and workers have on their workspace, thanks to sensor monitoring, the office furniture manufacturer can also perform a follow-up of their product and measure the user's experience for the designed furniture. Likewise, architects, designers, and interior designers can evaluate the environment and elaborate renovation proposals as well as new ideas for new designs.

A fundamental tool for companies that want to track and monitor the products they design and sell, measuring the ergonomics as a user experience, and the worker's sentiment as a vital experience during work, “with the intention of adapting the workspace to the social and productivity needs, and to provide a competitiveness resource applying over time this product-service concept”.


Anthropomorphic values and Brand value

Through specific sensors, heat, humidity, noise, or lighting values are constantly being monitored. In the same way, ergonomics are being tracked thanks to pressure, distance and tilt sensors, and user profiles containing anthropomorphic values which evaluate postural hygiene, issuing alerts if workers keep incorrect positions for a long time that could end up being damaging or harmful.

The service also evaluates the sentiment of the workers and the brand value of the company, based on the furniture currently in use. This allows to analyze concepts such as functionality, comfort, esthetics and decorative elements among others. Management defines an explicit image and brand parameters that they want to portray. Once all workers, clients and social media opinions are gathered, evaluation of results can be achieved comparing both values.

Industrial sectors

Pymbiosys is present in several industrial sectors, such as video recording in airplanes, cutting machinery tools, textile, and office furniture. Each sector adapts the needs to the methods and technologies being developed jointly, as with AIDIMME's sector, it will allow to design customized new spaces and furniture on demand.

Summarizing, the project aims to improve the competitiveness of the European industries, generating and innovative environment with attractive solutions under a sustainable framework, outlining eco-design and integration of intelligent manufacturing technologies, where product-service will take a decisive role in line with H020 objectives.

Source: Metal-processing, Furniture, Wood, and Packaging Technology Institute, AIDIMME

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