When DAQRI unveiled the Smart Helmet in 2016, it was a glimpse into the future of augmented reality. Step-by-step work instructions, solid to-scale 3D
models, even thermal imaging, displayed right onto the face
shield. After putting aside how awesome it looked and the
potential it projected, users started to realize the 3.3-lb. helmet
would weigh even more after several hours of use. Also, those
sophisticated electronics generated a lot of heat, making the
experience even more uncomfortable over an extended period.
And considering the price tag of $15,000, the Smart Helmet
didn’t seem like a wise investment for most companies.
The wonderful thing about innovation is that it never has
to stop. DAQRI took its initial industrial users’ feedback and
polished this developmental platform into the DAQRI Smart
Glasses, available now for $4,995. They may not look like they
were ripped right out a futuristic sci-f movie or videogame, but
they are a heck of a lot more likely to be adopted by industry
this year. We recently spoke with the glasses’ product manager,
Cassie Li, about the redesign and why DAQRI’s latest should
be considered for your plant’s AR plans.
NED: The list of AR wearables to choose seems to grow daily.
What do the DAQRI Smart Glasses do that others don’t?
Cassie Li: We’re focused on enterprise and very specifc
customers and we designed these smart glasses for professional grade AR. One thing that makes us better is we use
a laptop [6th Generation Intel Core m7] processor. It’s a lot
more powerful than what’s out there in the market. A lot of our
customers have this complex data, they have these existing
3D models that are just huge, and require a lot of processing
power to handle.
NED: We got so excited about the Smart Helmet making this
futuristic workplace that we may have lost sight on what’s in it for
industry right now. Do you think it was too much tech too soon?
CL: We start off by saying, “Let’s paint this aspirational
picture; let’s paint what it could be.” That’s where we get into
these situations where you think it’s Iron Man–esque. I think
we can get there. I don’t know how long it will take, but I think
it’s important because it gets people excited. And it helps
our road map in the current state, because if we want to get
there, we have to know what we’re aiming for. Imagine where
you ultimately want to be and take baby steps to get there.
NED: What’s one of the most benefcial use cases of the Smart
CL: In architecture and construction, if they have the 3D
content, they can put it in these glasses and collaborate
with other teams to do the visualization. Being able to walk
through a building at full scale is so powerful. You can see
a clash that is happening, which is harder to fnd on a
computer. That’s actual value and why people will use
it. Maybe it’s not a Hollywood movie, but it is a step in
making your life better. And we do want to make those
other steps afterwards.
NED: What were some of the advantages and disadvantages
of turning a helmet into glasses?
CL: The big points of feedback were the balance and
weight. It was very heavy. We moved that weight off of
your head and onto your hip, and use the same high
end processor but divided it into a modular architecture.
When you divide into two, you make the architecture a lot
harder because now its two sub-products and you have to
design the mechanical structures around that. We made
it so you can plug the glasses directly into a computer
without the Compute Pack, but that means the glasses
on their own need to talk to it. All these pieces increase
its complexity because you’re trying to make it simpler
for the end-user.
NED: The Smart Helmet also served as head protection.
What are some of the safety aspects of the new glasses?
CL: They are [ANSI/ISEA Z87.1] rated for eye and face
protection. And we spent a lot of time working on the
cable connecting the glasses to the Compute Pack. If
the cable is a little loose, the display might not work and
data might not get sent. What if this cable gets caught
in the machinery? You’ll get pulled in, so we have to
make it detach at some level of a pull, but not wiggle. We
reached that sweet spot with a permanent attachment
to the bottom, but the cable is connected by a magnet
at the top. With some pull, it comes off immediately so
you’re kept safe.
For more information:
Revamped Wearable Ready for Prime Time
DAQRI showed us what the future of AR wearables looks like with the Smart Helmet.
With the more accessible Smart Glasses, they offer a professional-grade AR platform
industry can use today.
by John Hitch
Circle 323 on card or visit www.nedinfo.com/70190-323