Hardhat of the Future Incorporates Google Glass Technology
Originally published by: National Construction Materials — October 9, 2014
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A hundred years ago, the hard hat – something that dots every construction area – didn’t exist, and 50 years ago it wasn’t even required to be worn. Before this time, most construction workers and miners would use a soft derby, which was designed to resemble a baseball hat.
As you can probably imagine, these hats weren’t all that safe, especially from falling objects. Increased safety became the driving force behind ‘The Hard Boiled Hat’ that Bullard, a hundred year old personal protective equipment manufacturer, patented in 1919.
Thus Began Safety Innovations
In an era when accidental deaths were commonplace, Joseph Strauss, the chief engineer on the Golden Gate Bridge’s construction, saw the need to make a safer environment for workers. Thus began Strauss’s commitment to employing safety innovations including relying on the newly patented hard hats.
The Bullard history, which you can read by clicking on the above link, reads:
“America’s first designated “Hard Hat Area” was set up at the San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge construction site. The project’s chief engineer, Joseph B. Strauss, shared a vison with my grandfather that the workplace could be a safer environment for the worker. One problem the bridge project faced was falling rivets, which could cause serious injury,” says Bullard. “My grandfather transformed the mining helmet into a durable industrial hard hat.”
However, the transformation of the hard hat was still not complete, and in 1982 we saw the introduction of a new hard hat that incorporated non-slip ratchet protection for common day field work and increased worker comfort. Bullard dubbed this hat the “3000 R.”
The Future Hard Hat Meets Google Glass
For more than 95 years, engineers and personal protective equipment manufacturers have been able to transform hard hats from soft derbies into today’s yellow hard hats, with great attention to the workers safety and comfort. But with today’s advances in technology comes great responsibility.
Thus Daqri’s, a Los Angeles-based tech startup, Smart Helmet with its augmented reality technology is born. While not for all, this helmet is perfect for those that need to digitally visualize 3D and 4D building models, and interact with the design.
Said to offer the same protection as the hard hat, the Smart Helmet utilizes an Android operating system, complete with an 8-hour battery. Features include 360-degree navigation cameras, an industrial-grade inertial measurement unit, and a high resolution 3D depth camera.
While not yet available on the market, the Smart Helmet is said to make quite a splash by the end of this October, as many construction companies are turning to augmented reality and 3D printers. Price is still to be determined by the company but is said to be in the thousands.