High-Tech Hard Hat Can Record, Photograph And Send And Receive Data

November 07, 1996

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- An innovative, computerized piece of headgear can protect workers and improve the quality of the work at construction sites, says Liang Liu, a professor of civil engineering at the University of Illinois. Dubbed the digital hard hat, the device is a helmet-mounted data-collection system that captures and communicates construction-site information in multimedia formats.

"The digital hard hat combines the functions of a camcorder, tape recorder, an electronic notepad and digital camera into one compact, lightweight device," Liu said. "Integrated with a portable computer and telecommunication network, the digital hard hat allows the wearer to collect, store, receive and transmit construction-project information via text, images, sound and video."

The prototype, developed by Liu and colleagues Wen-Mei Hwu and Vaduvur Bharghavan in the department of electrical and computer engineering, consists of a protective plastic helmet, video camera, microphone, headset, head-up display (a visor-mounted viewing screen that allows the wearer to see data and physical surroundings at the same time), computer and telecommunication link. The head-up display serves as a monitor for both the video camera and the portable computer, which is carried on a belt. The entire package weighs about 5 pounds.

"Construction documentation plays a key role in the success of a construction project," Liu said. "Because this information must be recorded accurately and efficiently, many inspectors supplement their written reports with photographs, drawings, and audio or video recordings."

But carrying and operating a number of individual devices can be awkward -- even dangerous -- at a construction site, where inspectors must frequently dodge materials and machinery, and climb on ladders and scaffolding, Liu said. "The digital hard hat promotes worker safety not only by protecting the head, but also by providing for hands-free operation through voice-activated control."

In addition to collecting and documenting project information, the digital hard hat allows the operator to communicate with remote experts to quickly resolve engineering or construction problems. Through the telecommunication network, an on-site user can also retrieve project data such as design details, specifications and construction schedules from remote computers. Information collected in the field can be stored digitally as a computerized daily report and become part of the project archive, along with the actual construction drawings.

The digital hard hat also could be used in other applications, Liu said. "In disaster assessment and mitigation, for example, remote experts could assess the safety and structural integrity of a building damaged in an earthquake while rescue workers [wearing the device] search for survivors."


University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Related Data Articles from Brightsurf:

Keep the data coming
A continuous data supply ensures data-intensive simulations can run at maximum speed.

Astronomers are bulging with data
For the first time, over 250 million stars in our galaxy's bulge have been surveyed in near-ultraviolet, optical, and near-infrared light, opening the door for astronomers to reexamine key questions about the Milky Way's formation and history.

Novel method for measuring spatial dependencies turns less data into more data
Researcher makes 'little data' act big through, the application of mathematical techniques normally used for time-series, to spatial processes.

Ups and downs in COVID-19 data may be caused by data reporting practices
As data accumulates on COVID-19 cases and deaths, researchers have observed patterns of peaks and valleys that repeat on a near-weekly basis.

Data centers use less energy than you think
Using the most detailed model to date of global data center energy use, researchers found that massive efficiency gains by data centers have kept energy use roughly flat over the past decade.

Storing data in music
Researchers at ETH Zurich have developed a technique for embedding data in music and transmitting it to a smartphone.

Life data economics: calling for new models to assess the value of human data
After the collapse of the blockchain bubble a number of research organisations are developing platforms to enable individual ownership of life data and establish the data valuation and pricing models.

Geoscience data group urges all scientific disciplines to make data open and accessible
Institutions, science funders, data repositories, publishers, researchers and scientific societies from all scientific disciplines must work together to ensure all scientific data are easy to find, access and use, according to a new commentary in Nature by members of the Enabling FAIR Data Steering Committee.

Democratizing data science
MIT researchers are hoping to advance the democratization of data science with a new tool for nonstatisticians that automatically generates models for analyzing raw data.

Getting the most out of atmospheric data analysis
An international team including researchers from Kanazawa University used a new approach to analyze an atmospheric data set spanning 18 years for the investigation of new-particle formation.

Read More: Data News and Data Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.