Technology is evolving rapidly, and one of the next steps in this evolution is wearable technology. Today, wearable technology is just starting to fight its way into the main stream with products like the iWatch and Google Glass, but has the potential to do so much more in the future. Everyone can benefit from the development of wearable technology, but AEC professionals stand to gain tremendously as the technology becomes integrated with their industry. This is because a great deal of work done in the AEC space is done on a job site, away from a desk and computer, and requires the use of one’s hands. Wearable technologies help to bridge this gap between the job site and the office, and allows users to access information without the use of a computer. Going forward, this article will look at some of the innovative wearable technologies available and how they can benefit AEC professionals.
The Smart Helmet, developed by DAQRI, is a true attempt to integrate augmented reality technology into the construction industry. The Smart Helmet looks similar to a construction hard hat, but in fact has a hands-free, high definition display that is just behind the protective visor. This display is used to create an augmented reality with real-time, 4D content for the user. The Smart Helmet also has a high resolution 3D depth camera, as well as 360 degree navigation cameras which support HD video recording, 3D mapping, and alphanumeric capture. It allows users to create checklists as they are doing an inspection, and it can compare 3D models of the real site to the plan to see if the project is on schedule. Users can also issue instructions and tasks immediately to cut down on errors and increase efficiency. This is one of the few wearable technologies that is being developed specifically for the AEC industry and it could have a major impact, especially on construction sites as it gives users the ability to increase efficiency and ensure projects get completed on schedule. To learn more about the DAQRI Smart Helmet, please click the following link: http://hardware.daqri.com/smarthelmet/
The HoloLens, developed by Microsoft, is similar to Google Glass as they are both headsets that offer augmented reality experiences, but Microsoft is differentiating itself by partnering with Trimble to bring the wearable, holographic technology to the AEC industry. Together they are trying to develop new solutions to help improve the quality, transparency, and collaboration across the built environment. This collaboration on the HoloLens will allow AEC professionals to explore the spatial relationships between physical and digital information and also allow for greater interaction with 3D models. This technology gives users new ways to visualize ideas, share them among team members, and ensure that everyone understands the changes being made and is operating on the same information. For more information about the HoloLens, please click the following link:https://www.microsoft.com/microsoft-hololens/en-us
Atheer AiR Platform
Atheer Labs is on the forefront of the mobile 3D platform for the future. The Atheer AiR Platform helps bring about productivity by combining 3D augmented reality with natural interaction and consists of the Atheer AiR Smart Glasses and the Atheer AiR OS. This platform is powered by mobile gesture recognition developed by Atheer which allows users to interact with the digital world without having to physically touch anything, keeping their hands free to deal with any tasks in the physical world. This technology allows professionals in the AEC industry to access checklists and work manuals in the field or on the job site, and interact with them hands free. To learn more about the Atheer AiR Platform, please click the link below: https://www.atheerlabs.com/
Osterhout Design Group’s (ODG) Smart Glasses
If you have not figured it out yet, smart glasses and augmented reality have the potential to significantly influence the AEC industry. Next up are ODG’s Smart Glasses which have a 3D screen as well as a high frame rate camera and geo-location capabilities. This Smart Glasses system has been developed by ODG and allows AEC professionals to access checklists and work manuals to ensure the correct tasks are being worked on in a quick and efficient manner. This system will also allow them to pull up designs of buildings and follow visual or auditory instructions explaining how to repair or build something. The technology will also give users the ability to consult in real-time with experts from a remote location about problems they are facing, while at the same time providing a real point-of-view of the issue they are attempting to resolve. To learn more about ODG’s Smart Glasses system, please click the following link:http://www.osterhoutgroup.com/system
Ekso Works Industrial Ekso Skeleton
The Ekso Works Industrial Ekso Skeleton is the result of Ekso Bionics moving into the AEC space. Originally, Ekso Bionics developed exoskeletons for physical therapy to help those who have had strokes or accidents gain the ability to walk again. The newest suit they have developed is unpowered, which is important because it is incredibly difficult to create enough power to sustain motion for an exoskeleton. The Industrial Ekso Skeleton uses counterweights, a carbon fiber harness, and metal-tube frame to transfer the weight of any object being lifted to the ground, instead of being transferred to the person. This will allow AEC professionals, and specifically construction workers on a job site, to lift heavy loads and power tools effortlessly, so they can move materials more quickly and operate heavy tools with greater efficiency and accuracy. This technology is not perfected as operating the suit and moving in it can be tricky at first, but is easy enough to operate once users grow accustomed to it. To learn more about the Ekso Works Industrial Ekso Skelton please click the following link: http://www.eksobionics.com/
The Smart Vest is being developed by Human Condition and is geared towards the safety of those working in the construction industry. The Smart Vest is a wearable technology that can track users whereabouts on a job site, while at the same time provide information about the impacts felt by the user and determine if an accident has occurred. Human Condition’s Safety Vest also has the ability to gather information and integrate with BIM software and provide a 5-dimensional view of a construction project. It allows users to track time, climate, materials, and workers and use this information for modeling purposes and to develop predications about when projects will be completed. If you would like to learn more about Human Condition’s Smart Vest, please click the following link: http://www.hcsafety.com/
The Moverio BT-200 are compact, innovative, smart glasses developed by Epson that possess augmented reality capabilities. This is the second version of smart glasses by Epson, and they added new features while also making them lighter and more compact. They offer a front facing camera and a touch pad control unit that is run through Android 4.0 software. These smart glasses also have built-in motion tracking capabilities which allows for greater interactivity in applications for users. The Moverio BT-200 offer many of the same benefits to the AEC industry as the other smart glasses and augmented reality products discussed above, but they do require users to operate them through a touchpad, so they do not have the benefit of being completely hands free. These glasses allow users to interact with augmented reality in a more immersive manner and can help to increase efficiency and provide greater transparency to users, but they are not developed specifically for the AEC industry, so they may not provide all the integration capabilities seen in the other glasses discussed above. To learn more about the Moverio BT-200, please click the following link: http://www.epson.com/cgi-bin/Store/jsp/Landing/moverio-bt-200-smart-glasses.do?UseCookie=yes
Closeout by Bridgit (integrated with Myo)
Closeout is a technology developed by Bridgit for the AEC industry that allows users to create and manage punchlists from their mobile devices, and then upload them to the cloud. This means that team members can access these punchlists from anywhere and it ensures that everyone is working off the most up-to-date list. Users also benefit from Closeout because it also allows users to assign the punchlists to and tasks to certain teams, so they can be accomplished quickly. This application is now being integrated with the Myo armband, which recognizes hand gestures, so it can be used effectively on smart glass devices, such as Google Glass. By integrating these two technologies, users can eliminate the need for smart phone manipulation or voice commands and speed up access to information. This technology allows for greater transparency and improved communication among AEC professionals which leads to greater efficiency, more accountability, and a better overall project. To learn more about Bridgit’s Closeout, please click the following link: http://gobridgit.com/
XOEye is a wearable technology system that can be used to solve efficiency problems. They create end-to-end solutions through the use of their own customized operating system, XOLinux, their own smart glasses that come equipped with XOLinux, and their own cloud-hosted software system, simply called Cloud. The smart glasses are ANSI-certified for safety and have a front-facing HD camera that can stream videos, photos, and two-way audio. This technology allows managers in the AEC industry to see what is happening on job-sites, and perform remote employee training and diagnostics. The system also supplies managers with actionable intelligence data that can be used to make quick, informed decisions. If you would like to learn more about eh XOEye system, please click the following link: http://www.xoeye.com/
The Halo Light was created by Illumagear and is meant to increase safety for construction workers who are working at night or in dark environments. It is personal active safety system that casts light in a 360 degree ring around the user, giving them better vision of their environment and making them more visible to others. The Halo Light also does not rely on external light to make the wearer visible to others, as is the case with reflective vests. This product attaches to most hard hats on the market and has different settings for different situations. This is important to the AEC industry as construction is considered to be one of the most dangerous professions and any reduction in risk for workers is beneficial to everyone involved. To learn more about the Halo Light, please click the following link:http://illumagear.com/
At BUILTR, we’re looking forward to more innovation in the form of wearables, as we believe that we have entering the age of innovation with regard to improved productivity and safety. As these new innovations come to market, BUILTR will be there to report on them.