The following post was contributed by Stephanie Lynch of Howmuchisit.org.
5 New Construction Products That Seem Fake—But Aren’t
The construction industry requires a lot of familiar tools. Even the most sophisticated physical structure begins with hammers, screwdrivers, tape measures, and ordinary construction materials, but as technology moves onto the construction job site, tools are changing. These innovations are making construction projects easier, safer, and faster, and looking out-of-this-world while they’re doing it.
Here are five cutting-edge construction products that don’t seem real—but are making very real waves in the industry:
#1 The Intelligent Headsets
No more fumbling with schematics, blueprints or instruction manuals while trying to work in the field. The Zebra HC1 Headset Computer from Zebra Technologies provides hands-free access to all project info through a high-resolution micro-display mounted at eye level as well as voice-activated communications with other project team members. Other capabilities include video transmission so that supervisors can see the workspace; integration with bar code readers for scanning work orders, part numbers, and bin labels; and WLAN or Bluetooth connectivity.
#2 Safety Glasses That See for You
Similar to the smart headsets, intelligent safety glasses are smaller, lighter, and more suitable for workers of all types. Again, the glasses have cameras, micro screens, and WLAN communications. The most advanced models have 3D mapping technology to capture locations and distance between points accurately. All data can be shared with co-workers.
#3 Interactive Clothing
Several manufacturers are introducing technology embedded in the clothes we wear. Recent innovations include temperature controlled work clothes that automatically adjust to the wearer’s body temperature, raising or lowering the temperature to protect workers in extreme environments. Wearers become more productive for longer time periods as heat or cold no longer saps their energy. Another manufacturer has introduced gloves that instantly detect the presence of toxic chemicals and change color to alert the wearer to present danger.
#4 Multimedia Inspection Cameras
Available from a few vendors, the basic configuration is a small hand-held display and communications module attached by a long, ruggedized cable to a small inspection camera that can be used to see into small, tight spaces where the user cannot access. This camera is commonly used to look down pipes or inside narrow wall spaces.
#5 Next Gen Drones
The sky seems to be the limit with drone innovation. Newer models, designed for construction sites, feature a smaller size, more maneuverability, longer flight times, greater carrying capacities, and integration with accessories. Construction industry applications include transporting building materials and supplies around a large project site; overhead video analysis of terrain, job progress, or worker activity; and communications connectivity for data collection from detached sensors and remote devices.
The Future Looks Bright
The construction industry is poised to achieve much greater productivity as technology removes historical barriers to information access/sharing, worker safety and comfort, and remote decision-making.