The photo above is not a still from the next Tron movie. It’s a hard hat equipped with Google Glass-like augmented reality features that a company called Daqri hopes construction firms and the industrial market will embrace.
Daqri calls it the Smart Helmet and says it was “designed with the industrial work place in mind.”
And while the device synonymous with augmented reality right now is Glass, Daqri’s Smart Helmet actually has far grander ambitions than Google’s device which mainly allows users to take photos videos and see notifications on a tiny screen.
The Smart Helmet on the other hand uses a combination of sensors and 360-degree cameras to get a true sense of a worker’s surroundings before displaying pertinent information based on the environment. More importantly, the data it presents actually fills the wearer’s vision through what Daqri calls a “4D display.”
The helmet has a sleekness akin to a cycling helmet with a sleek top protective layer transitioning to a transparent visor that covers just about half of the wearer’s face, offering much more protection than the standard hard hat. Beneath that visor, are two more transparent HD displays—one for each eye. The displays are always on and Daqri says they’re easily readable in both bright and low light scenarios.
What’s the result of all this hardware? Check out the video below.
The Smart Helmet uses a technology called Intellitrack capable of recognizing specific objects and environments and even reconstructing a facility or building based on plans. It can even read an understand signage to orient itself.
Daqri is promising the first hard hat that implements augmented reality in a truly useful way for construction. It fills the user’s vision with useful data. And that data is completely customizable using Daqri’s 4D Studio software, which allows contractors or IT managers to author content that feeds into the Smart Helmet display whenever the worker encounters a particular machine, area or element on the jobsite.
Daqri gives the examples of workers being able to quickly find the location of inspection items in a facility or jobsite by using a 3D map of the site as well as being able to quickly compare the progress of a build or repair to its 3D site model.
And for asset managers there’s an added bonus: the Smart Helmet is able to scan every tool you have making daily inventories a breeze.
Beyond the augmented reality features, the Smart Helmet is also capable of HD video recording, snapping high-resolution photos and even creating 3D maps of an environment.
No price has yet been announced for the helmet. It was originally expected to ship this month but there’s been no word from Daqri on that front. Regardless, the future of augmented reality in industrial uses is certainly bright if this is one of the first implementations.