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Sensing thermal stress at office workplaces

Sabine Hoffmann; Helga Tauscher; Andreas Dengel; Shoya Ishimaru; Sheraz Ahmed; Jochen Kuhn; Carina Heisel; Yutaka Arakawa
In: Proc. ICHES2016 (Hrsg.). The Fifth International Conference on Human-Environment System. International Conference on Human-Environment System (ICHES-2016), October 29 - November 2, Nagoya, Japan, The Organizing Committee for the Fifth International Conference on Human-Environment System, 10/2016.


Thermal stress at office workplaces can lead to decreased productivity and health issues of office workers. A new method was investigated to detect heat stress with thermal imaging using consumer infrared (IR) cameras in combination with mobile devices. The camera can be integrated into a “Mobile Health Check Kit for Offices” either giving direct feedback to the user or detecting a situation of discomfort and possibly adjust the environment. Based on the IR-images in combination with the corresponding RGB-images, the face or a particular region of the face can be detected in order to extract respective temperature values for the selected area. We conducted a series of human subject tests where the test persons had to vote their thermal sensation and comfort while a thermal load was imposed on their head. The data recorded by the camera during the tests were post-processed to extract average temperature values of the face and of a specific region in the face. The evolution of the measured face and region temperature was compared to the subjective sensation and comfort voting. In some cases, the correlation was high, while in other cases the face and region detection were subject to errors.