Excessive exposure to whole-body vibration may be a cause of back pain and disorders of the lumbar spine. Such exposure is encountered at numerous workplaces and must be taken into account in the risk assessments. However, workplace measurements for determining the intensity of vibration and performed in compliance with the standards interfere with operating procedures, and require not only measurement equipment, but also trained measurement personnel.
Smartphone apps that make use of the acceleration sensors in the smartphone hold the prospect of a simpler, more user-friendly measurement system. During this project, functional tests were performed of a selection of such apps to permit assessment of whether this procedure permits preliminary measurements.
A search was performed in the online app stores for suitable apps that make use of smartphones' built-in vibration sensors. A requirement was the facility for exporting the vibration measurements from the smartphone for the purposes of documentation.
Each app was installed on a smartphone with the required operating system and tested on a vibration calibrator.
A total of eight apps for vibration measurement were studied, and tests performed of both the amplitude linearity and the frequency response. Two of these apps were designed for measuring vibration on the human body, which requires the vibration to be weighted. The apps differed widely in their processing and presentation of the measurement results. Further processing and analysis was not always possible, preventing the subsequent application of weighting where this was not performed in the app. The hardware, operating system and software selected and their mutual influence have a strong influence on the results.
Two of the apps studied produced results differing only marginally from the excitation and clearly permitted some degree of classification of the vibration exposure arising.
-cross sectoral-Type of hazard:
vibration, risk assessment, preventionDescription, key words:
vibration, smartphone, vibration measurement