If a hazard crops up at work, we all understand the conventional alarm signals such as wailing sirens or bright, flashing red lights. But although everyone knows what they mean, this does not guarantee they will always be noticed immediately. In the steel industry, for example, workers wear lots of protective gear including a helmet, goggles and earplugs, which severely impairs their ability to see and hear what’s happening around them. It’s here that the integrated data goggles in the helmet come into play, as developed by a team of electrical engineers at Zwickau University of Applied Sciences (WHZ) together with the Society for Information Systems (Gesellschaft für Informationssysteme – GESIS). They’re on show for the very first time to the public at CeBIT 2017 in Hannover.
The goggles make it possible to flash warnings directly into workers’ line of sight as a potentially life-saving aid to occupational safety. The signals are transmitted wirelessly via a Bluetooth interface and the system is powered by a rechargeable battery that’s designed to last at least one full shift. What’s more, the goggles are extremely adaptable and can be attached left or right on the helmet and also worn together with reading glasses or regular protective goggles. Besides transmitting alarm signals, the idea is to use them in future for additional "augmented factory" applications that directly relate to the worker’s own tasks.