On a construction jobsite, a hard hat has one primary function: to keep a worker’s head safe. With the rise of technology, will a hard hat soon serve more than one function? An announcement from World of Concrete may change things for construction companies.
Before we dig into the new announcement, let’s look back. When we talk smart hard hats for construction, many people’s thoughts may first go to DAQRI, which was an AR (augmented reality) company that launched in 2010 with a big vision: to provide an AR smart helmet. The company folded less than a decade later.
Here is the reality though with DAQRI. It was not focused on safety. It aimed to provide information through a head-mounted display. Here at Constructech, we had an opportunity to try DAQRI at a World of Concrete event several years back, and while the experience was very cool, the purpose was murky, and the cost was unsustainable for many construction companies.
What if instead we had a smart hard hat that was intended primarily for safety? What if we simply enhanced what we already have?
These are interesting questions and something two companies have come together to consider. At World of Concrete 2024, Delta Plus and Mips announced the launch of the Delta Plus Americana Climbing Type II Mips helmet, equipped with the Mips Elevate Core system. The technology that is integrated directly into the helmet is designed to help redirect dangerous rotational motion of certain angled impacts that could otherwise be transferred to the wearer’s head.
The Mips safety system is patent protected and based on 25 years of research, testing and development in cooperation with the Royal Institute of Technology and Karolinska University Hospital in Stockholm, Sweden.
Delta Plus and Mips have one core objective here: to reduce the risk of brain injury. The innovation here is intended to complement that one core purpose: safety.
This is important as the construction industry has the greatest number of both fatal and nonfatal work-related TBIs (traumatic brain injury). From 2003 to 2010, 2,210 construction workers died because of a TBI (a rate of 2.6 per 100,000 full time equivalent workers). These deaths represented 25% of all construction fatalities and 24% of all work-related TBI fatalities among all industries during that period.
This certainly isn’t the first time we have seen a “smarter” helmet come to market with a primary purpose aimed toward safety. Here at Connected World, we have covered helmets such as those provided by Riddell. Primarily intended for sports, this company offers truly smart helmets. The Axiom technology senses impact and collects and transmits head impact data from the field in realtime. The objective is to provide coaches with the information needed to take steps to reduce head impact exposure.
With all this in mind, will a hard hat ever be more? Sure, absolutely. A hard hat will evolve into something more than what it once was, but only if it keeps that core objective front and center: safety.
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