How wearables are aiming to make construction safer

construction-safetyRecent years have seen a number of interesting innovations designed to make the lot of the construction manager easier.  For instance, SAM is an automated bricklayer that is capable of laying around three times as many bricks as a human.  Or you’ve got the drones that are helping building managers check the progress of a project.

The drones fly above the site and collect video footage of the construction.  This is then fed into software that compares the footage with both the architectural plans and the work plan for the project.  It is capable of showing the status of the project, and therefore whether it’s on schedule.

There has also been a growth in use of virtual reality tools such as Microsoft’s HoloLens. Employees from Gilbane Building Company in Rhode Island are applying Microsoft’s HoloLens augmented reality tool to perform a similar job.

The device allows managers to view a mock-up of the project, with the aim being that they can spot problems ahead of time and hopefully save considerable time and money in the process.

Raising the safety levels of construction

One of the more interesting technologies to enter construction in recent times is the wearable device developed by SmartSite to help improve safety levels on site.

The company, which is part of the Y Combinator stable, offers hardware that is connected to the cloud to help companies measure what hazardous substances employees are exposed to.

Such exposure is common on building sites, and can lead to conditions such as cancer, dermatitis and a range of respiratory problems.  To help reduce this, the SmartSite system monitors particulates in the air, UV rays, and even noise levels on site.

The concept, which emerged out of time spent at the Royal College of Arts, aims to improve on existing methods that tend to rely on past conditions to gauge the current risk to workers.  More current monitoring is possible but usually expensive so is undertaken less often, and this is where SmartSite comes in.

The company is currently testing the concept out with a number of sites, with an eventual aim to scale things up and take it to market in 2017.


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