Darqi have announced a specialist and “no expense spared” Android-powered Smart Helmet, the very latest in keeping your workforce safe and empowered with the necessary knowledge for their job. The product is due to be launched in October and although we don’t have a price at the moment, it will run into the thousands of dollars bracket. But then the Darqi Smart Helmet is not a competitor for Google Glass or an Android Wear smartwatch. Instead, it combines some elements of both of these plus some clever sensors akin to a Google Project Tango device. To watch the Darqi promotional videos and you’d be forgiven that you’re watching a less violent version of The Terminator. Darqi use augmented reality technology to help the worker understand what he or she needs to do: for example, looking at an industrial component and the Smart Helmet highlights the faulty part that needs replacing.
The device shows the user the information using the heads up display build between his or her eyes and the visor. The Darqi Smart Helmet may be paired up with a smartphone or smartwatch but presumably has extensive offline functionality, given that the website details how data is saved on flash cartridges. Check out this video to see what I mean: Darqi believe that the Smart Helmet will be especially useful during inspections of safety equipment and maintaining quality control in all manner of industrial workplaces, where testing and inspection prior to an expensive deployment could save a considerable sum. Indeed, the sales brochure emphasises that the Darqi Smart Helmet is designed to streamline and simplify the quality control process; the price tag of a few thousand dollars may be short change by comparison. For the money the Smart Helmit comes with two Snapdragon processors, a slew of cameras designed to provide 360-degree coverage, an Inertial Movement Unit, and a high resolution 3D depth sensor.
The Smart Helmet uses Visual Inertial Navigation (VizNav) to understand the location of the user via the cameras and inertial movement unit to understand where the user is. Additional features include a tool tracking system to scan and inventory every tool in the workplace; no more blaming Bob for borrowing the spanner! Oh, and a virtual user interface, which I have to say looks utterly amazing! Darqi’s software allows the business to completely customise and program the Smart Helmet to suit their particular industry. As I’ve written earlier, Darqi’s Smart Helmet looks like something from science fiction just a couple of decades ago, now becoming a commercial reality. I do wonder how much inspiration today’s product designers took from watching science fiction movies as a kid.