The Daqri Smart Helmet uses augmented reality to superimpose data and work instructions in front of the wearer's eyes so they appear as interactive floating 3D holograms. Matthew Stock reports.
It's a safety helmet for the 21st century - one its makers say could kick-start a new industrial revolution. The Daqri Smart Helmet recognises and deciphers the wearer's surroundings. It then uses augmented reality to overlay information in real-time as floating, interactive holograms. (SOUNDBITE) (English) PAUL SWEENEY, GENERAL MANAGER OF DAQRI INTERNATIONAL, SAYING: "So, if you're looking at something, if you're trying to do something, it superimposes potentially data, relevant work instructions, contextual information about what you're actually working on; in front of your eyes." Aside from games like Pokemon GO, augmented reality - or AR - has struggled to find its place. Google Glass generated much excitement on launch, but stopped selling to consumers in 2015. By focusing on the construction sector, Daqri believes it's turned AR into a viable tool. (SOUNDBITE) (English) PAUL SWEENEY, GENERAL MANAGER OF DAQRI INTERNATIONAL, SAYING: "You can see where walls would go, you can see where electrical utilities will route through the building, see where water pipes will run. And, therefore, understand in context exactly what's going to go where." (SOUNDBITE) (English) ROB QUIGLEY, SOLUTIONS DEVELOPMENT LEAD OF DAQRI INTERNATIONAL, SHOWING SMART HELMET, SAYING: "You have a lens either side so we can do stereoscopic vision, so that means the worker actually sees digital content in 3D in stereo as they move round their environment. We have a temperature camera, we have depth camera, we have a forward-facing fish-eye lens camera for computer vision. And we have the Intel LR200 for taking video and pictures as well as some depth-sensing capabilities." To click on a message or select a different application, the wearer moves their head to line a up a cross-hair. A slight pause activates the button they're hovering over. It weighs just over a kilo, but Daqri says it's comfortable enough to be worn for a full working day. The battery lasts 4 hours, though can be changed without stopping work. Late last year Daqri launched the helmet for early adopters, costing $15,000 each, and including a software suite to create content. The full production version is due for release later this year.