Date of Graduation

Spring 2016

Document Type

Honors Research Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science


Biomedical Engineering - Biomechanics - Cooperative Education

Research Sponsor

Dr. James Keszenheimer

First Reader

Dr. Bing Yu

Second Reader

Dr. Rouzbeh Amini


In a wide variety of manual labor industries, workers are often unaware that they are approaching dangerous vital thresholds until they have already overexerted themselves. According to a 2012 white paper by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), over 4,500 workers lose their lives, and more than 4 million are seriously injured each year. There is an immediate need to improve the safety and monitoring of manual workers to reduce the number of workplace injuries and fatalities. Millions of laborers around the globe go to work every day relying on basic safety devices, such as harnesses and steel toed boots, to protect them. It is becoming essential that modern technological advances contribute to enhancing the safety of our workforce. It is with this thought that the Smart Hard Hat team set forth to improve the safety of workers everywhere by creating a personal protective equipment (PPE) device to monitor worker biometrics so as to prevent the effects of overexertion before potential injury can occur.

The primary purpose of this project was to emulate a real world product development effort, following standard design processes to identify a problem, formulate solutions, and develop a proof-of-concept prototype device. Following this design process to address the need for innovating safety monitoring equipment, we developed a product that incorporates several biometric sensors into a standard hard hat that monitor the wearer’s heart rate, body temperature, and concussive impact forces. These sensors are coded to alert both the worker and their supervisor if levels are entering dangerous zones, allowing both parties to take steps to prevent overexertion and increase worker safety.