At a construction site, workers mainly rely on two senses, which are sight and sound, in order to perceive their physical surroundings. However, they are often hindered by the nature of most construction sites, which are usually dynamic, loud, and complicated. To overcome these challenges, this research explored a method using an embedded sensory system that might offer construction workers an artificial sensing ability to better perceive their surroundings. This study identified three parameters (i.e., intensity, signal length, and delay between consecutive pulses) needed for tactile-based signals for the construction workers to communicate quickly. We developed a prototype system based on these parameters, conducted experimental studies to quantify and validate the sensitivity of the parameters for quick communication, and analyzed test data to reveal what was added by this method in order to perceive information from the tactile signals. The findings disclosed that the parameters of tactile-based signals and their distinguishable ranges could be perceived in a short amount of time (i.e., a fraction of a second). Further experimentation demonstrated the capability of the identified unit signals combined with a signal mapping technique to effectively deliver simple information to individuals and offer an additional sense of awareness to the surroundings. The findings of this study could serve as a basis for future research in exploring advanced tactile-based messages to overcome challenges in environments for which communication is a struggle.
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