Top Construction Wearables to Watch for in 2018
Construction wearable technologies are increasing on the job site. Some of these wearables improve comfort, while others improve safety. However, all will become more prevalent in because of the increase of efficiency that they promise. Here are just some of the top construction wearables to watch for in 2018.
Heated jackets aren’t necessarily a new construction wearable. However, the technology is getting better. Jackets have battery packs that can heat for 8 hours or more. The jackets are lighter now. With most weighing around 2 pounds or less. And companies like DeWalt and Milwaukee are making them reflective for construction and other workers. Other companies, like Ravean, are using rechargeable Lithium-Ion batteries for their jackets. It reduces the number of batteries wearers must purchase. And it could even be charged in a vehicle. And more jackets are coming with a variety of heat settings to better fit wearer needs.
There are many cooling vests on the market right now. Most of them use some sort of fluid cooling system. In an ice water bladder, usually on someone’s back, there is ice water and a mini water pump, and cooling tubes. Then cool water is pumped through the tubes that run along the vest in order to keep wearers cool. However, there are also personal air conditioning vests and ventilation vests. These vests are battery operated and work by using small fans to evenly distribute air around the wearer. Slowly but surely these construction wearables are getting better and thinner.
Smart Cap is out of a science fiction novel, but it has the possibility of really improving safety. This construction wearable uses brain waves to monitor fatigue. When workers are fitted with a Smart Cap hat or hard hat, it measures their fatigue to prevent micro-sleeps. If a worker starts to go to sleep it sends alerts through vibrations and noise to let the wearer know they should stop what they’re doing. This will keep workers alert on the job site. And it gives supervisors the ability to know if someone is falling asleep. This way they can get them to a safer place to wake up so no accidents occur.
Spot-R Clips by Triax Technologies are a new construction wearable that will be prevalent on job sites in the future. The Spot-R clips can identify the number and location of workers on a site at any time. And the built-in gyroscope alerts supervisors to the location of someone that has tripped, slipped, or fallen. With push-button alerts, workers can signal if they’re injured and receive attention sooner. Project managers can assign the Spot-R clips to specific workers. So you know who is using a piece of equipment without having to physically check. And the site-wide evacuation portion of the app alerts workers if they need to evacuate.
Microsoft’s HoloLens has made its way into construction. The HoloLens allows for users to overlay 3D building plans over a job site. The building plans are to scale with the HoloLens. So project managers see how things will work on the site before it’s built. In trials, project managers have seen parts that won’t fit on the site before the piece has arrived. Then parts are resized or fixed before they arrive at the site. For now, project managers use the HoloLens on project sidelines. However, it’s certified protective eyewear. And one day people might see the HoloLens on everyone at a construction site.
The Future of Construction Wearables
There are many needs in construction that wearable technology can fill. Some companies are trying to find ways to develop safety vests that monitor heart rate, positioning, and impact. This would monitor for slips, trips, and falls. It could even tell the type of impact and likelihood of injury. This data would be able to help doctors treat workers, as well as supervisors, prevent accidents.
There’s also SolePower, a company building smart work boots. These work boots charge their battery with every step. But they don’t just charge batteries. Depending on the company, sensors in the boot will change. Gas companies could install sensors to check for leaks, or cold weather workers could have sensors for temperature. These could help improve worker safety.
Construction wearables are going to keep showing up on the job site. And as the technology improves we’ll see even more tech than listed here. From preventing frostbite, to detecting drowsiness, construction wearables will be an important tool.