The Internet has changed the way we research, communicate, shop, and buy. The next phase of technological evolution will change the way we live and work. In the construction industry, wearable technology use is increasing on the job site. Wearables today can improve worker comfort and safety. As this technology advances, it has the potential to radically improve safety and productivity on the job site.
Imagine a future construction site where employees are automatically, individually notified of a hazardous situation before an accident happens. Workers’ fatigue levels are monitored and measured. Workers can be notified if they are too close to moving equipment or dangerous areas. The system notifies them and their supervisors if an adjustment is required to avoid injury.
Well, the future has arrived! Wearable technologies are already being used on job sites and offer the potential to increase safety, improve efficiencies, reduce injury rates, and enhance the lives of the workers who use them.
Defining Wearable Technology
Different definitions for wearables apply to different industrial sectors, from healthcare and manufacturing to construction. Construction wearables are devices that generally include a computer or electronic device, worn on the body, personal protective equipment, or clothing.
These devices will collect and deliver data about the workers’ location and environment, activities, and biometrics. It helps to detect and warn about the potential for injury or reduce the seriousness of an injury when one occurs. This technology and its ability to collect and analyze data is revolutionizing worker protection.
Here are some construction wearables to watch for in the coming years.
Smart Wearable Technology on the Job Site
While this technology is still in its infancy, there are already products available that are being increasingly integrated on the job site. Here are some intriguing examples.
- Smart Cap
Like something out of a science fiction movie, this wearable uses brain waves to monitor fatigue and eliminate “micro-sleeps.” If workers start to fall asleep it vibrates and sends noise to let them know to stop what they’re doing. Supervisors can now know if a particular worker is falling asleep and can get them to a safe place to prevent potential accidents.
- Spot-R Clips
These wearables will be common on job sites in the future. This technology identifies the number and location of every worker on a job site. The built-in gyroscope alerts supervisors if someone has tripped, slipped or fallen, along with their location. The clip also includes a push-button alert so workers can signal if they’ve been injured, and a site-wide evacuation function so workers can be alerted in the event they need to evacuate.
This Microsoft device allows users to use augmented or mixed reality on the job site. For example, users can overlay 3D building plans over a site. The plans are to scale so project managers can actually see how things will work and fit on the site before construction, helping to reduce the number of rework needed.
Wearable technology in construction is changing the industry. Today, wearables are being used that offer visual information like mixed reality. Tactile wearables are designed to provide extra endurance or strength to the wearer, while limiting stress on the body. Sensing wearables like the smart cap, badges, and biosensors evaluate real-time data like location, impact, motion, temperature, and vital signs.
Wearable technology in the construction industry will not only have value for workers but can also enhance a company’s ability to manage safety. The wearables wave is rapidly approaching. Every contractor should be actively investigating how this wave can enhance their business.