Smart Wearables

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Construction Boom and the Triumph of Wearable Tech


Build, build, build. The rapid economic upturn enjoyed by many countries in Asia today is taking the construction industry by storm. Suddenly, building high rise towers, factories, leisure sites, posh houses, condominiums, bridges and roads has become the most in demand job.

Far from an easy job, construction work is something that industries around the globe are putting their minds, and money, on more seriously than ever before. The challenge is how to respond to the demand, with the world construction activity predicted to accelerate by 70% in the next eight years. Is the construction industry prepared to take on the job?

Fortunately, a new generation of wearable tech has been developed to become a reliable partner of the construction workforce. Set to bring global infrastructure development to new heights,  wearable technology appropriately take the worker to augmented reality to radically transform their usual work routine into something more efficient, certainly faster and  a lot safer. Most importantly, using these wearables are easy peasy, even for the average digital migrant. Here are some of the latest designs in the market today:

The Smart Helmet Visor

The amazing technology behind the IoT-powered visor, which is designed as a helment, lies in its ability to access and deliver real-time data. It has four basic features: data visualization, thermal vision, guided work instructions and remote access. It’s compatible with the newest Building Information Modeling (BIM) platform which links all the data related to design, engineering works and systems for the construction project.

Credit: Dezeen

The smart helmet visor allows the construction worker to be more productive by removing downtime during their travels to and from the control room. They can work on-site and still be able to access the data they need and to collaborate with the team. And because the team out in the field have access to each other using the visor, it’s easier and less time-consuming to pass on instructions, provide guidance and make decisions. Implementing solutions to immediate problems and incidents is also possible as experts can be easily brought into the team remotely. Most importantly, the safety of the worker is ensured because the thermal vision allows him or her to visualize and analyze critical data such as a temperature within the workplace.

The Exoskeleton

Construction workers often contend with the risk of injury from lifting heavy equipment, tools and objects in the project site. The exoskeleton allows a person to lift anything of weight with ease and with zero effort. Like the fictional character Iron Man, the worker wearing an exoskeleton can transform into a powerful man-machine. This wearable tech is designed with a carbon fiber harness and metal-tube frame attachable to the legs. It is unpowered and instead uses counterweights which mechanically shunts the weight of the lifted object to the footplates.

Credits: New Scientist

Hands-free Gesture Control

This slick wearable uses IoT to allow the construction worker to access data on the fly, even when they are hard at work. It is an armband that allows the user to control a projected screen or on Google Glass by flicking the wrist. The movement made by muscles on the wrist or forearm are translated as signal using sensors connected to the armband. This way, workers on site need not stop whatever they’re doing to access data or instructions. Its creators believe this wearable tech increases productivity in work areas, especially those that are noisy, dusty or crowded, as well as in sterile work environments.

Credits: Thalmic Labs

The GPS-fitted Safety Vest

It’s a high-end safety vest with a global positioning system (GPS) that is linked to the control room. Apart from its usual function which is to ensure occupational safety in the workplace, the safety vest with a GPS also optimizes efficiency by allowing supervisors to see on-site operations, including movement of people and machines, location of resources and even documents and materials. The GPS is designed on an IoT platform to provide analytics and instant reports, and organize relevant data in dashboards. The vest is also equipped with a smart badge for identification.

So, while business is booming for the construction industry, it is actually the wearable tech industry that’s proving to be triumphant in pushing for efficiency at the workplace. And that’s good news for everyone.


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