Construction sites are some of the most dangerous places in the world. Couple a job site with the general public and they’re disasters waiting to happen. According to the American Road & Transportation Builders Association, 579 people were killed in highway work-zone related accidents in just 2013 alone. Equipment, machines, and clothing are becoming “smarter” every day, even things we never thought about as technology, such as the recent development of the smart hard hat. Tapping into technology allows users greater and easier access to ever important data and, in some instances, safer work environments.
Professor Tom Martin and Kristen Hines, engineers at Virginia Tech, hope to greatly reduce that number with their recent development of a smart safety vest that gives several seconds of warning to workers if danger is approaching. With their creation of the InZone Alert system, workers can be alerted by flashing light, audible alarms, or physical alarms, such as vibrations or compression of your clothing if a car is approaching too quickly or too closely. The researchers’ goal is to create alerts that are distinctive, but won’t startle the user.
With the ever improving technology of vehicles, the Virginia Tech team also hopes to integrate communication between the vest and cars driving by with the use of short range radio signals. That would add to the safety features of the vest by also alerting the driver of the vehicle that they are in immediate danger of causing an accident.
Initial tests of the InZone Alert system have wielded success rates of 90 percent. The higher the percentage, the better, because frequent false alarms would result in users ignoring the alarms or greatly reducing job site productivity. The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute has been conducting testing of the vest on the Virginia Smart Road in Blacksburg, VA, which is a closed course test road for research purposes.
Check out the video of the smart vest below!
FULL STORY: RESEARCHERS' PROTOTYPE VEST OFFERS A WARNING SYSTEM FOR ROADSIDE CONSTRUCTION WORKERS, RESCUE PERSONNEL | Virginia Tech
Caterpillar is not resting on what made it successful in the past anymore and probably for good reason. The equipment manufacturing giant recently bought Yard Club, a heavy construction equipment sharing company, looking to take advantage of the recently popularized sharing economy. Earlier this month, Caterpillar invested $2 million in Fastbrick Robotics, an Australian robotic technology company.
Augmented and Virtual Reality has always been designated for large headsets. Even with recent developments in the construction industry, like Microsoft Hololens and the DAQRI Smart Helmet, if you want to experience AR, you have to get used to wearing something you’re not used to around a job site. As cool as both of those technologies are, it seems that the ole trusty smartphones and tablets have been overlooked. A Danish BIM company has developed a smartphone and tablet application that leaves the headsets behind.
It’s pretty amazing all of the things that smartphones can do right now. While some wish phones would go back to “just making dang blasted phone calls, like the good ole days,” it’s clear that phone’s will always be more than that moving forward. Through apps and other attachments, phones can now turn into a thermal imagine camera, an x-ray vision scanner to see what’s behind walls, a laser measure, and now an augmented reality tape measure.
For many construction superintendents and project managers across the world, tablets are becoming one of the most important tools on the job site. They’re great for looking at plans, taking pictures, making notes, and running your favorite construction apps. Carrying a tablet does take up at least one of your hands, however, so it can be a hindrance if you need to help a co-worker lift material or climb a ladder.
Fiskars was first founded as a Finnish Ironworks company in 1649, making it one of the oldest companies I have heard of that is still going strong. Recently – relatively speaking - in 1967, Fiskars made a name for themselves with their orange handled scissors. Noted for their build quality, sharpness, and durability, these scissors quickly became an industry standard and a leader in the category. Since then, Fiskars has expanded into other areas of the home and outdoors. You may also recognize the name Gerber, as this is one of the brands Fiskars sells under.
Every now and then a new product comes along and you ask yourself, “why didn’t I think of that?!” The OVAL Fire Extinguisher is just that product. Architecture and interior design have been moving towards cleaner lines in their spaces. Foregone are the days of bulky protruding water fountains (bubblers for my northern friends) and fire extinguisher cabinets. Interior designers are looking for cleaner and sleeker interior spaces but the 10lb fire extinguishers and cabinets have not changed for quite some time. OVAL is about to change all that.
Do you own Bosch Cordless Power Tools? Is it time for a battery upgrade? Take a look at Bosch’s new CORE 18V batteries. They have gone in and completely revamped their 18V batteries! They are now smaller, lighter, more powerful, have a longer life, and allow for more cuts and drives. Bosch has been able to achieve all of these benefits while also delivering corded performance in high-load applications.
The 2017 Milwaukee Tool New Product Symposium (NPS) was held last week at Milwaukee’s headquarters and it proved to be a whirlwind of new products and information from the red brand. Over 80 new tools and accessories, which will be released throughout the remainder of 2017, were presented to dozens of media representatives, including construction magazines, YouTubers, Instagrammers, and your favorite construction blog (Construction Junkie, obviously).
After flooding our social media pages with Milwaukee information and gathering our thoughts from the event, we’ve come up with our 9 biggest takeaways from the event, in no particular order.
After recently announcing the release of a bunch of new Bluetooth enabled tools and products, as well as an inventory platform, DeWalt has jumped all-in on internet connected construction sites with the announcement of Construction Site WiFi. Construction sites, especially large complex sites, are becoming more and more reliant on internet connectivity to efficiently manage their projects. This is great news for all of you who count on a consistent internet connection to use programs like Procore, PlanGrid, and Bluebeam, among others, to communicate between different parties on the job site and in the office.