Imagine a Robocop-style hard hat that uses augmented reality to interpret, measure and map data from 360-degree environmental scanning before displaying information on a wearable screen.
Enter LA-based tech company, Daqri who are merging augmented reality (AR) with hard hats to deliver what they call a four dimensional industrial solution to help drive productivity and safety – think Google Glass developed specifically for tradies, engineers, manufacturing and similar professions.
While it is still in the testing phase and not commercially available yet, applications for the futuristic hard hat will include jobsite mapping, HD video recording, parts identification (as long as those parts are catalogued on the Daqri systems assumably) and enabling workers to access machinery service manuals, instructions, documentation and parts lists while also recording and logging machinery including gauge readings.
The Daqri Smart Helmet has its own custom ‘Intellitrack’ software controlled by voice activation or integrated smartwatch paired with an inertial measurement unit, 3D depth sensors and cameras built in to capture 360 degree vision and information.
They say the sensors also track changes in spatial orientation to create a depth map of an entire environment and enabling high-resolution scanning and accurate site reconstruction, even in low light conditions or when the sensors are partially blocked.
For OHS and management, the Daqri Smart Helmet could help monitoring of procedures as well as instrument and gauge verification with Daqri saying you can incorporate safety controls within workflows that prevent processes from moving forward without certain verifications.
Google Glass Comaprison Pricing
While Google Glass was not well received and the ‘Explorer’ consumer offering was shelved in early January 2015, they are working on Google Glass business offering with expected release in 2016.
Google Glass Explorer was priced at around US $1500 which was one barrier to entry, along with negative feedback from communities.
While there is definitely a business case for the Daqri Smart Helmet, price may continue to be a barrier in these early days of wearables. Given its impressive technology offering, it’s hard to see the Daqri Smart Helmet coming priced much less than Google’s offering.
Tools Trades Toys therefore believes that it is unlikely you’ll see the Daqri Smart Helmet flooding work sites anytime soon, despite the benefits. However, augmented reality technology will become mainstream sooner that you can imagine (think how fast mobile phone technology has developed) and this hard hat offers one example of how the technology will be used.