Fraunhofer IGD has developed software that becomes a personal health assistant at the computer workstation. The highlight: all it needs is a standard webcam.
Sitting in front of a computer, reading a screen, typing on a keyboard and clicking a mouse – this is what the working day consists of for many people. And since the start of the pandemic, the number of hours spent at the computer – often working from home – has increased. Dimitri Kraft, a doctoral student at the Fraunhofer Institute for Computer Graphics Research IGD in Rostock, Germany, has programmed a solution for computer-bound workers which we have named CareCam.
Fraunhofer IGD's "CareCam" software uses the webcam to detect unfavourable sitting positions in front of the computer as well as various stress characteristics and suggests remedies.
Products and exhibitors around the topic
Are you interested in this topic? You will find exhibitors and products in the COMPAMED catalogue:
This novel software package uses a webcam to register every movement, no matter how minimal. Dimitri Kraft: "The facial recognition system perceives the smallest changes in hue, which we can't even see with the naked eye. From this, it calculates the user’s pulse." The camera monitors the frequency of blinking and issues a timely warning to nip dry-eye syndrome in the bud. It records posture and facial expression, from which it draws conclusions about stress levels and appropriate interventions: "If the software notices that you are stressed or your posture is poor, it suggests remedial action, for example a change of sitting position, a stretching exercise or a short break for meditation." For this part of the program, Kraft has collaborated with partners in the fields of physiotherapy and psychology.
CareCam data remain exclusively with the users and is only stored for the purpose of observation over a sustained period of time. Other technical solutions in this area (e.g. smartwatches) collect similar data, but are more complicated to use, have to be carried around by the user and need to be recharged at regular intervals. Furthermore, they may have to be purchased separately. By contrast, Dimitri Kraft’s solution relies on the same terminal that people with office jobs sit in front of while working anyway. By means of Artificial Intelligence, the software gets to know its user and tailors its suggestions for exercise breaks or other measures to the individual. In another twelve months or so, after various pilot tests and refinements, the program should be ready for use by larger groups of people. Employers will then be able to offer it as an optional extra to individual company health management schemes. Fraunhofer has also recognized the potential of the project and is supporting the work of the development team through the AHEAD program.
COMPAMED-tradefair.com; Source: Fraunhofer Institute for Computer Graphics Research (IGD)