The construction helmet that will change construction: it has cameras, sensors and intelligent functions
In 2022, Spain experienced the year with the highest number of occupational fatalities since 2009, including nearly 870 fatalities. These are very worrying figures, especially in sectors such as construction, where most fatal accidents are concentrated. To avoid them, it is advisable to be extremely safe, and technology can be the best ally in this respect. Not only because of the arrival on the market of robots such as the one capable of laying 500 bricks per hour to build a house per day, but also because of the reduction of risks involved in inventions such as SmartHat, a new intelligent helmet from the Indian firm Proxgy. This product, which is not yet on sale but has already received the India Design Award 2023 and the CES Innovation Award 2024, is the most advanced version of the classic construction helmet available. It has many more functions apart from protecting the user’s head, and incorporates state-of-the-art technology that makes it suitable for many other industrial sectors apart from construction, such as factories, mining or transport.
As SmartHat’s managers explain on their website, in addition to the safety factor, this device “provides immersive, intelligent, secure and analytical solutions for workers to connect, collaborate and coordinate”. To this end, it integrates various sensors, cameras, microphones and loudspeakers that enable all these activities hands-free, easily and quickly.
Protection first and foremost
The main purpose of any helmet of this type is to protect the wearer from blows to the head, one of the most sensitive parts of the body. To meet the highest demands in this regard, Proxgy has opted for a hardened ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene butadiene styrene) shell, the same used in helmets that protect those who work at heights. It is a strong and lightweight material, which also ensures user comfort.
The helmet is classified as Type 1/Class 3, which means that it protects against falling objects but not against electrical hazards. It must be the only type of workplace accident that the SmartHat does not cover, because its catalogue of resources is overwhelming.
It has a removable sensor that sounds an alarm if it detects the presence of 17 different gases (14 flammable and 3 toxic), allowing you to get out of the compromised area before it is too late. It also has a proximity sensor, which alerts the wearer to the proximity of overhead objects by means of haptic feedback.
The two HD cameras, located on the front and back of the helmet, allow other workers or managers to remotely monitor the work or the area where the helmet-wearing operator is working. The main camera includes an infrared sensor for use in low-light conditions, while the rear camera offers a 160-degree viewing angle. To record video or take photos, the user can use one of the buttons located on the side of the helmet, so that the snapshots or recordings made in situ can be reviewed later.
SmartHat also incorporates a multi-channel communications system, allowing users to make two-way calls and video calls, either with the person monitoring their work or with other workers. To wirelessly comply with all connectivity protocols, Proxgy technicians have incorporated the possibility of using 4G/5G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC, LoRaWAN or PTT.
As a wearable
Workplace accidents are not always about falling objects or machine malfunctions. To go one step further in the field of occupational hazards, SmartHat also allows managers to receive notifications if sensors built into the helmet detect abnormal levels of body temperature, blood oxygen or heart rate of users, just as a smartwatch would. It is also designed to monitor environmental factors such as ambient temperature, atmospheric pressure, humidity, noise or light.
Such wireless notifications also include fall alerts, similar to those on the Apple Watch, and other passive alerts, such as leaving a geo-fenced area or if the wearer is not wearing the helmet in an area where it is required. In addition, the helmet is IP67 waterproof, so it can be submerged in up to one metre of water for 30 minutes.
The only button on the front of the helmet is the one for sending an emergency SOS. When pressed, the integrated lights on the top start flashing and a wireless alert is automatically sent to those monitoring operations.
Powering all the electronics is a removable lithium-ion phosphate battery, located on the back of the SmartHat. At the moment, Proxgy does not specify the capacity of the battery or the autonomy it provides, which in any case will depend on the functions used – sensors consume little power, while communications and cameras require much more.
To see the SmartHat on a construction site will have to wait, as the company is still working on its development. However, the company has confirmed that a prototype of the helmet will be on display at the upcoming CES 2024 show in Las Vegas in January.
By EE Diario.