A worker wears the StrongArm Harness that holds the system...

A worker wears the StrongArm Harness that holds the system sensor while reaching for a box on a shelf.  Credit: StrongArm

StrongArm Technologies, whose Long Island-built wearable sensors are designed to protect warehouse and industrial workers from injury, is drawing high-profile clients and tens of millions in venture capital.

The company, cofounded in 2012 by Mount Sinai native Sean Petterson, landed $50 million in its most recent financing round in January led by Coiumbus, Ohio-based Drive Capital.

Used by Toyota, Walmart

The company's safety sensors, about the size of a deck of cards, are used by workers at automaker Toyota, retail giant Walmart and the animal health unit of pharmaceutical maker Merck.

Each safety device incorporates an accelerometer, gyroscope, and magnetometer to measure angles, direction and speed.

When a worker is deemed to be at ergonomic risk — such as when they flex their lower back more than 70 degrees to pick up an object — the sensors provide haptic, or tactile, feedback like that of a mobile phone set on vibrate.

The sensor "will assess the risk and deliver passive feedback," said Petterson, StrongArm's chief executive. "We avoid that injury and the worker will continue their shift."

CEO Sean Petterson co-founded StrongArm Technologies in 2012; the company landed...

CEO Sean Petterson co-founded StrongArm Technologies in 2012; the company landed $50 million in its most recent financing round in January. Credit: StrongArm Technologies/Gus Potter

Meanwhile, managers get a stream of data, delivering a broad view of the workforce's overall safety profile, he said.

In addition to physiological risk, StrongArm sensors also can monitor factors like heat, humidity and air quality.

"We're a safety science company," said Petterson, 31, whose Twitter profile describes him as an "enthusiasm enthusiast."

In one case, StrongArm was called in to a warehouse with a high injury rate and managers who recognized the problem "but didn't know where to start," he said.

Introducing StrongArm's technology cut the injury rate in half, Petterson said.

In 2020, American workers in private industry suffered about a quarter-million musculoskeletal injuries, or 25.4 per 10,000 full-time workers, with a median of 14 days away from work, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Manufactured in Bohemia

StrongArm's devices are manufactured by Precision Assembly Technologies in Bohemia.

Brooklyn-based StrongArm is part of an emerging crop of suppliers of wearable sensors designed to improve worker safety and reduce days lost to injury.

Among StrongArm's competitors is Manhattan-based Kinetic, whose wearable safety sensors are used by PepsiCo.

More broadly, the global industrial wearables market — including smart watches, bands and headsets — is expected to reach $8.40 billion by 2027 from $3.79 billion in 2019, according to a report distributed by Research and Markets,

Professor Sheng Xu of the Center for Wearable Sensors at UC San Diego said wearable sensor are valuable to managers because they can provide a wealth of data about the working environment.

"That's a crucial value," he said.

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