One of the observations made about why so many firms are so slow to embrace construction technology is that they don't think that it's a good fit for site work. And it's certainly true that in the past, technology tools that other types of business adopted without blinking weren't always appropriate. The connectivity they needed wasn't always available in the field. And it's neither safe nor practical to juggle a handful of tools plus a laptop, plus a smartphone, on top of a girder.
But as digital technology continues to evolve and improve at rapid rates, construction software is no longer limited to computers bound by cables to a desk. Software companies like Raken offer a construction app that can be downloaded to mobile devices for reporting among other features. But sometimes on jobsites it seems as though all workers could use an extra set of hands and all of them would be busy. So how can construction sites gain any practical benefit from all of this new innovation in construction technology if all of those hands are too busy to use it?
By using wearables. Wearables are hands-free devices that do everything from enhancing basic safety to communicating, and these devices aren't just for Dick Tracy and The Jetsons anymore. Read on to learn more about some wearables that if you aren't seeing yet at jobsites, you soon will be.
Smart Helmets Not even Darth Vader himself has a helmet this cool-or this practical. Produced by augmented reality specialists Daqri, this helmet features a pull-down visor on which printed instructions appear. No more fumbling with notebooks or trying to keep that paper from blowing away. The helmet also features a 360-degree navigation camera, HD video recording, photography, and 3D mapping among other features, meaning that reporting and recording from "on high" will be much more practical and safer.
Halo Light Not only is construction roadwork unglamorous, it's unsafe, especially at night, when 40% of all worker accidents and fatalities occur. This light wraps around standard hard hats and provides light in all directions, allowing workers to both see and be seen for up to a quarter mile. Manufactured by Illumagear, the light contains a rechargeable battery which lasts up to twelve hours.
Myo Why should comic strip detectives get to have all of the fun? Worn on the lower arm and resembling a smart watch, this Bridgit produced device is used by smart glass wearing workers to communicate and record what they are seeing just by moving their arm.
Safety Helmets Yeah, this product made by Human Condition Safety looks like your average hard hat. But do your hard hats have built in lights, alarm systems, and embedded codes to identify downed workers?
Robotic Suits Not yet here, but in development by companies like Robotics Rise and Ekso Bionics, these "exoskeletons" or lightweight, flexible harnesses will protect workers while bending, stretching, and lifting.