As standards and work on construction sites continuously change, one piece of kit that has remained consistent for years is the hard hat.
While the hard hat has been improved over the years, making it safer, more durable and lighter, newer innovations have changed its design, such as the recent introduction of a transparent version by workwear company Portwest.
Now it appears the hard hat is embracing BIM with the development of a new smart helmet by Los Angeles tech company Daqri.
The hard hat is being tested by a number of construction companies including some in the UK.
With augmented/virtual reality becoming a more common theme in the construction industry, the new helmet is seeking to bridge the gap between the two sectors, protecting workers with a hard hat while enhancing what they see on site and allowing them to share and view various building elements, data and plans in real time.
The company says the helmet would be used by everyday workers on construction sites, working on pipe fittings, buildings and also industrial sites.
It weighs no more than a standard safety helmet and comes with an anti-reflective, scratch-resistant safety visor. The tech inside the helmet includes a 13 megapixel high-definition camera, 2D target recognition and tracking as well as object/colour recognition and a 4D HUD – a transparent augmented reality display tweaked for use in the industrial environment.
It is powered by a sixth-generation Intel Core m7 processor and also includes Intel’s RealSense technology to enhance its depth sensing ability. The helmet is fully BIM compatible.
A programme within the camera called Intellitrack is able to capture and display information about the user’s environment. The software allows the location of the wearer to be identified without relying on GPS, Bluetooth or wifi.
Regan Wynne, director of marketing at Daqri, said: “Full launch of the product is expected by the end of the year and we are expecting a large amount of interest from the construction industry. Both big and small companies are using BIM everyday, and a product like this we see as becoming highly popular over the next few years."
There is a catch, however, the device sells for between £4,000 and £11,500 depending on the features included.