Heads Up Display Innovation

1st April 2015

While we were disappointed to hear in January that Google would be ending their Google Glass Explorer programme, it hasn’t stopped us from looking at the ways in which we can use this kind of wearable technology in industry. While Google Glass may have been put on hold, “heads up display” wearables are set to come to prominence in 2015. Continuing development for Glass allows us to work out potential challenges faced when working with “heads up” wearables.

Change in Direction

Speaking at this year’s SXSW, Astro Teller (the head of Google X division) discussed the ‘failures’ of Google Glass, citing too much publicity as a problem. However, while Google have shelved Glass as a consumer product, the headset appears to be thriving in enterprise. The end of the Explorer programme could signal the next stage of growth for Glass. Writing for TechCrunch, Ron Miller speculates,”…Glass decided to go where it’s appreciated, and that’s business where users can walk around using Glass to do their jobs and nobody will beat them up or make fun of them.” As well as allowing us to gain experience and insight into the future of wearable technology, this is the reason that we are still involved in developing software for Google Glass.

Glass Apps

Much of our work with Google Glass has been aimed at the construction industry. Speaking to BIM+, 3Squared Managing Director Tim Jones said “It’s sad news about terminating the Glass programme. We had been trialling Google Glass from an H&S and snagging perspective, you would have been able to say ‘okay Glass, get me all the snags in my location’ and it would have pulled down the relevant data”.

3Squared are currently partnering with Autodesk in trialling Google Glass technology with several construction contractors, as we pilot the use of Glass with BIM 360 Field Software. We have also been evaluating other wearables’ uses in construction, such as the Daqri Smart Helmet. As the uses for wearables in construction become standardised, we could see the production of specialist hardware increase. The Smart Helmet is built specifically with construction in mind, as it looks to improve productivity, while maintaining the level of safety needed in headwear.

Using the APIs, the BIM 360 Field app allows the user to search for existing issues, comment on issues, and change their status. The possibility of using the wearable to create issues from photos taken on the device and update information for commissioning has also been explored. Autodesk have put together a video demonstration on how BIM 360 Field software could be utilised with Google Glass:

Future Potential

Wearable technology has the potential to have a huge impact on construction, and using our experience, as well as Autodesk’s, in providing technology solutions in the construction industry, we aim to improve information delivery, health & safety and more!