By operating the HMT- 1 with their voices, workers at height can focus on holding ladder
rungs or tools, not an inspection camera or radio.
Obtaining that info is more of a requirement in this
time of digital transformation. Data can uncover greater
efficiencies, better productivity, hidden areas of waste. It
drives overall continuous improvement, it steers capital
investment, it directs change. There’s rarely a manufac-
turing narrative that doesn’t mention data nowadays.
And now the conversation has turned to empowering
workers with that data. According to Accenture, 94% of
industry executives consider connected workers essen-
tial to their future with about one in five implementing
measures to connect them.
What is actually being connected though?
Lowery points out all the sensor-loaded pumps and
valves, motors and heat exchangers are feeding tem-
perature, pressure and flow data to an insatiable cloud,
He equates this predictive
maintenance practice of fore-
casting critical equipment fail-
ure to “looking for canaries,”
which makes sense, “because
when those things break, they
bring down a whole plant,” he
This is why connecting the
worker to the data via the wearable interface is so important
to Lowery; it catalyzes the data
Miners wouldn’t just stand
around and watch the canary
asphyxiate; they would start
“It matters not one hill of
beans until you can get that
information and turn it into
knowledge for the worker, who can actually click that
pump off and bring another pump on or replace the
bearings,” Lowery says.
His own data insights, from his time as a Naval officer
operating and maintaining an aircraft carrier’s nuclear
reactors, helped him glean the importance of actionable
data. Back then it was created by steam and turbine
generators, the various reactor control equipment.
“Every single one of them had a material history book
that I could go through and look at all the data, all the
trend analysis, all the different things that basically
went on in the history of that,” the retired lieutenant
commander explains. “But guess how many times we
did that proactively? Zero!”
With the HMT- 1, you can’t help but see the data when
it’s even clearer than the nose on your face. And it’s
not one logbook worth of data, but the company’s en-
tire repository of information, linked wirelessly to the
data historian and ERP. It’s compatible with every major
software provider, from Schneider Electric to Emerson
to PTC. And workers can’t put it down, and likely won’t
want to. It also has manufacturers on the prowl for new
places for it to drive value.
It’s one thing to fix that pump when you know it’s
about to break. It’s another to guarantee the maintenance was done correctly and the equipment is func-
tioning. Lowery says the HMT- 1 has reduced errors by
“800 times in some cases.”
This can be achieved simply by having the work instructions always visible, by getting assistance from an
expert watching the video feed, or from the QR codes
on the machine triggering AR data visualization.
Errors are still bound to happen. Maybe not with repairs, but someone or something somewhere is going to
mess up. They always do. Luckily, the entire hands-free
platform is centered around safety and agility, every
design feature handy for some intensive industrial use.
It fits comfortably with standard PPE, such as safety
glasses and a hard hat, and the device’s rugged shell
allows it to survive a 2-meter drop onto concrete (not
exactly a standard iPhone feature).
Also, important: it is comfortable and light enough
(380 g) to be worn all day, making compliance more
likely. And you can reverse the boom arm so the display
isn’t always in your peripheral vision.
For serious danger zones, there’s the newer intrin-
sically safe HTZ-1Z1, which can be deployed in oil &
gas applications, flour factories, and pharmaceutical
factories, which would become highly explosive in the
event of an oxygen leak. To ensure even safer surround-
ings, a worker can plug a thermal camera into one of
the two USB ports (micro and Type-C) and start recording
a daily thermal video diary. It’s just easier to have that
always running and an algorithm scanning for patterns and
The HMT- 1 can be used to display work instruction, feed video to a remote expert or trainer, or play
video of a previous repair, leading to virtually error-proof maintenance and assembly.
You can do some jobs twice as
fast as you can with a tablet.
And manufacturing time can be
reduced as much as 55% from a
traditional paper and pencil way.”
– RealWear CEO Andy Lowery