The construction industries are spread and busy all over the world. The need to renew, level old buildings and raise new buildings is not going away anytime soon. This space is great for innovative technologies to find their way into modern building and construction business.
There are many tech companies that try to leverage augmented reality (AR) and wearable technology for entertainment. Yet, only a few companies are making good progress to get such technologies into more serious markets.
About DAQRI and their products
One such company is DAQRI. They are building innovative products that are wearables such as visors or helmets to connect and enhance the user’s productivity and effectiveness when at work. At this moment their product portfolio includes a smart helmet, smart glasses, the DAQRI Qube and the DAQRI Smart HUD.
The idea behind these products is to connect the technical documentation and digital plans (CAD) with the people who are on site. They use AR in order to better understand their environment. Construction workers can better comprehend how the work needs to be carried out. Maintenance engineers will be able to use AR to better understand technology around them without checking their computers.
We thought this technology is worth having a closer look on and interviewed Roy Ashok, Chief Product Officer at DAQRI.
Interview about DAQRI AR technology
CI: Do you feel that the Smart Glasses are a successor to the smart helmets or are they on the same tech level and just built for different industries?
RA: We see very different markets between DAQRI Smart Helmet and DAQRI Smart Glasses. DAQRI Smart Helmet was purpose-built in the hard hat form factor for industries where personal protection equipment (PPE) is a necessity. As different verticals like AEC saw the possibility of AR in their workflow, the need for an additional form factor arose. Both devices have the same underlying operating system optimized for AR and the same development tools ensuring that applications built for one can be used by the other.
CI: Are you building the DAQRI AR solutions to be compatible with open source hardware or similar technologies? I wonder if there could be potential partnerships in the future with companies like Microsoft, Oculus, Google, or other similar companies with AR technology on their roadmap.
RA: Our products are powered by DAQRI Visual Operating System (Vos) for optimal AR experiences. It is specifically designed to integrate with third party tools and ecosystems. In that sense we are very open. Take our partnership with Autodesk, for example. Delivering their cloud-based BIM 360 information to DAQRI Smart Helmet or DAQRI Smart Glasses will bridge the gap between pre-construction and construction, allowing QA and QC on a site that hasn’t even been built yet. And that’s just one example of taking the foundational software and integrating with a partner.
CI: The DAQRI smart helmets seem great on their first impression. Yet, being built for construction sites, I was wondering if they are actually protecting the wearer from damage when objects would fall on them? How about the field of vision with the helmet on? Are they safe walking around in possibly dangerous areas with the smart helmet and AR on?
RA: DAQRI Smart Helmet is built for the delivery of information and as personal protection equipment (PPE). This goes beyond construction into other fields like utilities and heavy manufacturing. We are currently in our ANSI certification process for hard hat and eye safety for the helmet. On top of that, built-in features like Thermal Vision will protect workers from more than just falling objects by identifying dangerous temperatures in their work environment.
CI: Will there be a collaboration function in the future? Perhaps something to have users in the same physical locations virtually interact with each other? Perhaps a VoIP chat to replace traditional radio chatter?
RA: DAQRI Smart Helmet comes equipped with Remote Expert – a video calling service out of the box. This allows the user to call an adviser anywhere in the world. The adviser can see what the worker’s field of view, talk them through complicated tasks, and even draw indicators in the worker’s field-of-view. We want users to get the most out of their experience, and cataloging their environmental data will improve with multiple users in the same area.
CI: Many thanks for taking the time for this interview. As last question, I’d like to ask you something that might border science fiction for some. If no budget and no regulations were restricting you, what hard-to-believe areas do you see for the future of the DAQRI AR solutions? Are there any “crazy” use cases that you thought about?
RA: I think science fiction and cutting edge technology feed into each other in a symbiotic manner. Someone has to dream it up before it can be built. At DAQRI, we’re currently excited about the possibilities of Software Defined Light (SDL) – the ability to use computational techniques to control the speed and phase of light. It will impact AR by delivering experiences to your car, in the classroom, and in your home.It will also impact other fields including 3D printing and LiDAR. We’re already taking those “out there” ideas and making them a reality today. If you can control light at a fundamental level, you can make it do anything. While we’re not quite taking pre-orders for lightsabers yet, but we see a world where that’s a possibility.
It will also impact other fields including 3D printing and LiDAR. We’re already taking those “out there” ideas and making them a reality today. If you can control light at a fundamental level, you can make it do anything. While we’re not quite taking pre-orders for lightsabers yet, but we see a world where that’s a possibility.
YouTube: DAQRI Smart Helmets Meet Autodesk Augmented Reality CAD
Story pitched by news scout Pupu Liang.
Thanks for that!
Photo credit: DAQRI
Editorial notice: The interview was coordinated with the support of Andrew McCrea and Olivia Johnson. This is not a sponsored article.