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
Even with the comprehensive collaborative environment that project management software, like Procore, provide, email is still a necessary evil for even the most technologically advanced contractor. Recently Procore announced new integrations with one of the biggest email providers, Microsoft Outlook, to help reduce redundancies and get all your information into one place.
[sponsored] In a world where construction is desperately seeking young people to fill the gaps of an aging workforce, it seems pretty obvious that someone should have come up with a way to incorporate video games into the construction process. Well, thanks to Buildfore’s CtrlWiz, someone finally has, and it allows users to manipulate 3D models within Navisworks with an Xbox controller.
Augmented Reality (AR) is often thought of as an interesting new twist on video games, but, in reality, it has some great potential for solving some common problems in construction. BigRentz, a construction equipment rental company, recently shared an infographic of 6 applications of AR in construction.
It’s that time again to begin Construction Junkie’s annual search for the best construction podcast! Now in our 4th year of the competition, it’s very clear that construction podcasts are gaining in popularity.
In November of 2018, Autodesk announced that it had acquired field productivity software, PlanGrid, for $875 Million. It was huge news for an industry that is finally starting to warm up to the use of technology on the jobsite. This morning, PlanGrid officially released their first integration into the Autodesk platform: PlanGrid BIM.
As smartphones and tablets are slowly becoming one of the most prominent and powerful tools on construction site, construction technology companies are still largely focusing on construction management firms and general contractors. What’s lost on many is the fact that there are dozens of subcontractors on every jobsite that also need to manage their projects.
Late last year, CAT Phones released their first ever smartphone on a US carrier network, the S48c. The phone is currently available on both the Sprint and Verizon Networks and I was recently able to test out the phone to get some better insight into how it operates. Overall, it offers the toughness to hold up to a jobsite at a reasonable price, but continue reading to hear about all of the details.
Tracking progress on any construction progress is an extremely vital step. Artificial intelligence is gaining popularity in the industry, as it can make sense of thousands of images or videos and place them into context. Before the AI can work its magic, though, all of those pictures and videos must be collected. That’s where robotics masters Boston Dynamics thinks they can step in with a robot they’ve been developing for years.
Fatigue on the jobsite is real, so much so that many technology companies have developed products to reduce fatigue and also sense when a worker is experiencing fatigue. There are other wearable devices, like exoskeletons, that can enhance a workers strength and stamina, but when you need to add more than a little punch, Construction Robotic’s MULE 135 may do the trick.
For over 3 years now, Trimble has been teaming up with Microsoft to make the mixed reality headset, the Microsoft HoloLens, a viable and useful tool for the construction industry. With Microsoft’s recent announcement of their next-gen headset, the HoloLens 2, Trimble also made an announcement about the impending release of a new wearable hard hat compatible device featuring the HoloLens 2.