The Smart Helmet: Opening Up New Doors For Manufacturers / by TI

The manufacturing environment continues to advance while factories and industrial sites of any kind continue to make use of new technologies. Noise, heat, chemicals and other people all play a factor in contributing to the safety of an industrial setting. Now there could be a technology that dramatically increases the safety, efficiency and effectiveness of the modern manufacturer, the Smart Helmet.

This hands-free wearable device is a mix between a hardhat and an augmented reality system like Google Glass.  Developed by DAQRI as an Industrial Internet of Things device to connect people and machines to increase awareness and create a more effective manufacturing workforce.

“Advanced wearable technologies when coupled with a robust sensor package and augmented reality have been proven to increase productivity and workplace safety,” says Brian Mullins, founder and CEO of DAQRI, Los Angeles-based enterprise augmented reality company.

The device was already pilot-tested last year at the KSP Steel plant in Kazakhstan. It helped to increase overall productivity by around 40% and able to reduce factory downtime by 50%. These are some incredible numbers. All of this success stems from offering an employee the ability to track all incoming data through a user friendly and hands free device.

DAQRI goes over four main points in which the Smart Helmet can help improve the modern manufacturing operation.

Data Visualization

Offering workers distributed information and situational awareness outside of the control room. This will help improve efficiency by reducing the amount of movement and the need for a centralized location. Essentially the Smart Helmet can act as a mobile control room and even an information manual on machines and components. Furthermore, it can alert the wearer to any malfunctioning equipment throughout the shop by showing a red indicator over the piece of equipment in question.

Thermal Vision.

Another impressive feature of the Smart Helmet is thermal vision. The device can show temperature data of pipes, equipment or anything else around the shop so the operator knows what is safe to touch and what areas to avoid. This can also play a huge role in maintenance and monitoring. The wearer can know exactly how hot a machine is running and data can appear on the visor to show if it’s a normal reading or if overheating may occur.

Guided Work Instructions.

Augmented reality instructions can walk the workforce through a job so they can understand the processes quickly and spend less time on each step while also reducing the amount of errors. The idea is to offer the wearer a virtual instruction manual on nearly any task they will be performing.

Remote Expert.

Not only can the Smart Helmet offer instructions on the fly, it can also connect the employee with experts on demand. If a manufacturing facility encounters an issue and a technician with that specialty is assisting a facility in another state or even country, the Smart Helmet can be used to remotely connect an individual to that technician. Using this technology, both the expert and the onsite team member will be able to address the issue quickly and thoroughly. There is no need for the onsite individual to explain the issue because the technician can see exactly what that onsite employees sees, further reducing downtime and increasing efficiency.

For a look at the Smart Helmet in action, take a look at the video below: