Way back in June, we introduced you to a developing technology that could eventually replace the standard hard hats we all know and love today. Hard hats have served their purpose, to save lives and reduce head injuries in dangerous areas, but, if you think about it, they’re using up valuable real estate on a construction worker without any added benefits. That’s why DAQRI decided to turn a traditional hard hat into a fully interactive, augmented reality head set which could unleash the true potential of a job site and its workers.
Now, according to a recent press release, Topcon Positioning Group, a leading technology firm for the construction, agricultural, and surveying industries, has partnered with Daqri, to bring their helmet to life in the construction industry. The original helmet concept, which actually won the Edison Gold Award for Industrial Solutions, was designed with a drop down, head up display, which allows the user to keep their eyes forward on a dangerous job site, as opposed to looking down at a smart phone or a notebook. It’s the same idea as a GPS navigation being projected on your front windshield, head up displays keep your eyes where they need to be.
Not only will it hopefully further increase safety, it’s also built to greatly increase efficiency and productivity. With basically a computer sitting on your head, you’ll have all the information you need right at your fingertips, like drawings, specs, and pictures. It also comes with a 360 degree sensor package which can detect issues before the human eye can and alert you.
“We are committed to developing innovative solutions that power the future of work and Topcon is at the forefront of the industry with some of the most innovative products that are being used by millions of workers across a variety of environments,” said Matt Kammerait, vice president of product, DAQRI. “This makes them the perfect partner to integrate the Smart Helmet into existing workflows. We look forward to seeing how our partnership re-defines the nature of ‘work,’ by setting a new standard for wearables in the AEC space.”
The video below will give you a pretty good understanding of how the DAQRI Smart Helmet is designed to work. It’s certainly got us pretty excited, and, combined with exoskeletons designed for construction workers, like this one, our industry is getting closer and to making its workers as close to bionic as possible.
3D printing has had to overcome plenty of obstacles, including materials, mobility, weather, and height. Slowly, but surely, technology companies are beginning to overcome these challenges. A 400 square foot house was recently printed in concrete on-site, in less than 24 hours and in freezing temperatures. Other companies are working on perfecting 3D printed steel for pedestrian bridges. Height limitations seem to be the hardest problem to solve, however.
Remote sites have extreme challenges, like finding enough staff to work the jobs and being able to get materials to the site. Large mining operations have turned to self-driving dump trucks, like this 320 Ton mega machine, for a few years now. But, Lockheed Martin, a giant in the world of global security and aerospace, has a different solution for remote sites.
3D printing technology faces major issues when it is required to leave the shelter of a warehouse and step foot on a construction job site. 3D printers are extremely large, heavy, and rely on precise calibration for accuracy. Even the first 3D printed office building in Dubai, which was completed last year, had to actually have its components printed off site and assembled on site. But, Apis Cor, a 3D printing company, believes it has created the technology to print a full structure completely on site.
Road construction is rarely an ideal place for many things. It’s unsafe for workers, it causes traffic issues, and nearby businesses can suffer from it. One more thing can be added to the list, as self-driving cars are also having a hard time navigating construction zones, as well.
In the construction world, 3D printing technology has traditionally focused on buildings and other static structures, like this 3D printed bridge in Madrid, Spain. Not anymore, though, as the world’s first 3D printed excavator was officially unveiled to the attendees at last week’s CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2017 in Las Vegas.
Augmented reality on construction job sites has been a focus of several technology companies in recent years. As of now the clear leaders in the category have been the DAQRI smart helmet and glasses and the MIcrosoft Hololens. Early this year, DAQRI introduced their new smart glasses, which are the lighter and more mobile version of their fully protective smart hard hat. The new DAQRI product is a clear competitor for Microsoft’s Hololens, which is also a smart headset product. Backed by the powerful construction technology company Trimble and in a partnership with the University of Cambridge, the Hololens is getting tested with 2 new concepts specifically for the construction industry: Automated Progress Monitoring and Automated Bridge Damage Detection.
The concept of a bubble has surprisingly inspired many designers within the construction industry in recent years. There’s the inflatable bubble building in Shanghai that is supposed to help air and light quality, the inflatable tunnel that will protect pedestrians and business during road construction in Canada, and even a solar cell that was created to be lighter than a soap bubble. We can now add Binishells to our list.
Construction workers work long hours in some pretty rough exterior conditions a lot of the time and there’s no doubt that fatigue is a major factor in job site accidents. In recent years, we’ve seen a few technological advances that will either reduce worker fatigue or sense it, including robotic attachments, lighter and less vibratory power tools, and camera systems on CAT machines that sense when drivers are closing their eyes too much. Recently, a company out of Australia has been developing a smart hard hat that sensors when mental fatigue has set in.
3D printed construction has been on top of the news the past few years, but we have yet to truly see many real world applications of the process. Last year, Dubai unveiled a completed 3D printed office building, which they say was built in only 19 days, but news has been pretty slow until the world’s first 3D printed bridge was completed recently.