Challenges and Opportunities of Understanding Construction Workers' Physical Demands through Field Energy Expenditure Measurements Using a Wearable Activity Tracker

Sungjoo Hwang, Joonoh Seo, Juhyeong Ryu, Sanghyun Lee

Research output: Chapter in book / Conference proceedingConference article published in proceeding or bookAcademic researchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Since energy expenditure (EE) has been proven an effective representation of physiological demands, field EE measurement enables us to assess worker's physical demands from ongoing construction tasks. However, because EE measurement requires special facilities and equipment, collecting data in the field remains challenging. One possible solution is to use heart rate (HR) to estimate EE according to a linear relationship between HR and EE. Recent advancements in a wristband-type activity tracker can potentially open new doors for field EE measurement, yet because its capacity for measurement is limited to aerobic free-living activities (e.g., walking), EE measurement may not be accurate for physically demanding construction works. To examine the potential of continuously measuring construction workers' EE from an activity tracker, we identified the following challenges: (1) need for different HR-EE relations for diverse tasks; (2) application of corresponding HR-EE relationship to such tasks and (3) accurate HR monitoring. To overcome these challenges, our in-depth investigation indicated that a wristband-type activity tracker has the potential to achieve reliable field EE measurement through automatic action recognition using an embedded accelerometer, and applying HR-EE relationships for corresponding actions with acceptable HR monitoring accuracy. By addressing these challenges, a proposed field EE measurement approach is expected to provide in-depth understanding and continuous monitoring of worker's physical demands from construction tasks.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationConstruction Research Congress 2016
Subtitle of host publicationOld and New Construction Technologies Converge in Historic San Juan - Proceedings of the 2016 Construction Research Congress, CRC 2016
PublisherAmerican Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9780784479827
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2016
Externally publishedYes
EventConstruction Research Congress 2016: Old and New Construction Technologies Converge in Historic San Juan, CRC 2016 - San Juan, Puerto Rico
Duration: 31 May 20162 Jun 2016


ConferenceConstruction Research Congress 2016: Old and New Construction Technologies Converge in Historic San Juan, CRC 2016
Country/TerritoryPuerto Rico
CitySan Juan

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction

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