A Wearable Tablet Hands-Free, Voice-Controlled Augmented Reality in the Plant

The process industries are beginning to take note of wearable devices and the capabilities of augmented reality, especially those solutions that help to increase workers’ safety.

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Martin Haaf, chief executive of i.Safe Mobile, models the IS-HMT-1Z1 wearable tablet device.
Martin Haaf, chief executive of i.Safe Mobile, models the IS-HMT-1Z1 wearable tablet device.

This fact is certainly evident from walking through nearly any hall at Achema. A new helmet-mounted device — the IS-HMT-1Z1 head-mounted tablet — has been developed by i.Safe Mobile. This brand-new, augmented-reality device can be mounted with an adapter into any certified hard hat or helmet, says i.Safe Mobile CEO Martin Haaf.

Leaving workers’ hands free enables them to focus more on the task at hand, be it maintenance, inspection, documentation and so on. Developed in collaboration with Silicon Valley-based augmented reality company Real Wear, these devices are designed to be safe for work in hazardous environments, including certifications for Atex Zone 1/21 or CSA Class I, II or III Division 1. Also, the IS-HMT-1Z1 is IP66-certified against water, dust and particulate matter.

A live-streaming video capability enables engineers to view the plant and provide guidance to operations personnel remotely. The tablet runs on the Android operating system, making it flexible to run apps from nearly any developer or vendor. According to Haaf, the headset’s battery lasts for 9–10 hours — long enough to complete a shift without charging. Furthermore, the system’s microphones include noise-canceling functionality so that the voice command and communication functions still work, even in areas with high levels of machine noise.

Besides use in operating plants, another significant use case that Haaf mentions is in logistics and distribution facilities, where the device’s high-resolution, 16-megapixel camera is especially beneficial. “The camera can scan a barcode on a Coke can from a distance of 2 meters,” says Haaf. According to Haaf, Achema has spurred much interest in these devices from automation providers and operations personnel alike. The IS-HMT-1Z1 will become commercially available beginning in July, states Haaf.

Visitors to the company's stand will find other communication and connectivity devices for hazardous areas, including several rugged smartphones and tablets.

i.Safe Mobile, Hall 11.1, Stand A25