Matthew SaidIntegrated Product Design MSc
WePA 'Wearable Personal Assistant'
Workplace 2030 - managing stress
Stress has always been a major issue in our daily lives; especially in the workplace. The future will bring major changes like population growth, environmental issues and health issues. It will also bring major changes in the workplace. This will not only involve the introduction of new technologies, but also a mixture of different age groups since people will live and work to an older age. All of these changes will lead to new forms of stress. Employees might even have to work for longer hours and still be expected to be fully productive regardless of their stressful, or personal, situations. In order for employees to survive their daily routines, every employee will need a personal assistant. With the advances and developing trends in sensor, cloud, communication, voice recognition and smart textile technologies and in ergonomics, a computerised personal assistant for the 2030 employee could be made. By integrating the personal assistant with the ‘Internet of Things' concept, the product will be able to perform various functions that employees once had to do themselves, thus increasing their work efficiency. It is a product that deals with the reliance people have on technology, with dynamic spaces and with stress-free environments, all of which were important insights that were considered at the beginning of this project. Basically the WePA is a wrist worn device that operates with voice commands from the user. It also takes readings from sensors embedded in the device; readings such as temperature, pulse, movement and location. Therefore, when the device senses certain changes in the user's behaviour that might have been caused by stress it recommends the user what he/she can do. The user can tell the device to do certain actions and this it will do through the 'Internet of Things', where every single appliance will be connected to the WePA via the internet. For example, listening to the user complaining about his back problems the device will send a signal to the user's chair, which will adjust itself to suitably comfort the person's posture. Another scenario includes the person's rise in body temperature, where the device will ask whether the person is feeling ill or whether it should lower the heating level of the thermostat. The WePA can also be in charge of activities related to the person's work, such as providing security access, organising schedules, reminding the user of important meetings, or even listing high priority emails. It can also serve as a way of storing, transferring or showing files. This will make it very helpful in meetings where the user can transfer and show his project on a nearby display simply by giving the order to the device and not having to know how the technology works. Not having to think about how the technology around us functions as well as having a health monitor and personal assistant will definitely serve as a much needed stress manager in the workplace of 2030.