RealWear's HMT-1: A hands-free, head-mounted tablet for connected industrial use

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There’s a rugged new pill on the town, and it is a head-mounted Android wearable. While it appears like the last word in geeky headwear, it is not. The HMT-1 is a discreet small display screen that’s designed to be worn with an industrial helmet for staff within the discipline, manufacturing unit, or warehouse with out obstructing the person’s imaginative and prescient.

Silicon Valley-based ActualWear launched the HMT-1 in March 2017 to a restricted viewers of roughly 65 corporations, together with Exxon, Hewlett-Packard, GE, Nokia, PTC, Dell, Walmart, Skanska, and OSIsoft.

The HMT-1 helps 10 languages and is designed for industrial staff who must be hands-free whereas speaking to consultants at a house workplace or different location. It provides staff the flexibility to point out consultants what’s being seen in actual time within the discipline, if help is required with a restore or different job whereas the employee is on web site.

There are 10 years of analysis and $35 million in improvement that has gone into the creation of the HMT-1. Andy Lowery, CEO of ActualWear, describes the voice recognition system as “our special sauce” as a result of it incorporates two completely different algorithms and two completely different microphones.

The first prototype was accomplished in October 2016. And in February 2017, the second beta construct was launched, and 60 models have been shipped to clients on March 1, 2017 for 40-50 pilot packages. In May 2017, an extra 240 models shipped, and 60 have been saved to check in a lab setting at ActualWear. The beta program will shut down after these pilots are accomplished, and manufacturing will start for August 2017 shipments to most of the people at lower than $1,500 per unit. The value will probably be based mostly on the variety of models offered to every firm, with bulk orders dropping to roughly $1,000 per unit.

SEE: Augmented actuality gaining extra traction than digital actuality within the enterprise (Tech Pro Research)

Lowery is skilled in augmented actuality. He was the president of DAQRI, which produces sensible helmets, as beforehand written about in TechRepublic. Before that, Lowery was chief engineer at Raytheon, and he was additionally a Naval nuclear warfare skilled. In early 2016, he joined ActualWear, which has Chris Parkinson at its CTO. Parkinson was beforehand with Kopin, the place he was on the Golden-i wearable system staff.

The deep buyer base for the HMT- 1 is spectacular. Walmart is utilizing the units for in-store inspections and building, and Dell is utilizing them for distant information facilities, Lowery mentioned.

In addition, Duke Energy, working with Verizon and EPRI, not too long ago accomplished a pilot with a brand new utility they constructed to take pictures of energy poles. After an earthquake or twister, the appliance makes use of AR to offer an overlay to the scene for side-by-side comparisons for surveyors to make use of for repairs. There are plans to roll it out to 12 extra utility corporations, Lowery mentioned.

And UPS is utilizing it for automotive inspections, in addition to serving to staff restore vans, Lowery mentioned.

The product, when launched mainstream, will probably be a mature, ready-to-scale product as a consequence of testing with the early adopters, Lowery mentioned.

“That’s something I really think is missing in the space. There aren’t a lot of companies with the maturity of product background, unless you look at Google or Apple or Samsung. We kind of have that sweet blend between experience and knowing what a good, mature commercial product looks like,” Lowery mentioned.

The downside with introducing a brand new product to the enterprise is that it could take 5-6 years on common earlier than it is accepted, as a consequence of worry of a product failing. Lowery mentioned his firm’s product is just an Android pill that’s voice-driven slightly than being a hand-gesture pill, so he hopes that speeds adoption.

“I can get to scalability a lot quicker. As far as the outside of it goes, it looks a little bit like a Caesar’s crown. The system runs around the head like a horseshoe. It’s either supported by a bunch of comfort strap features, or it can clip onto a hard helmet,” he mentioned.

“I’ve embraced the ecosystem,” Lowery mentioned, describing the design of the HMT-1. “I’ve taken a more modular approach. You can add a thermal camera, for instance. If you don’t need it, you don’t get it. If you want a sulfur sniffer for gas detection, you can clip that accessory on. It’s all a very modular hardware and software system.”

Rob Enderle, an analyst with Enderle Group, mentioned, “RealWear gives a rugged wearable show for those that are cell and wish work with each their fingers usually for security whereas a display screen. It makes use of effectively examined and dependable expertise and it’s comparatively moderately priced for one thing that sells in low volumes for focused markets. In the finish, for the industries that want this, it’s the closest factor to a perfect answer proper now.”

Top three takeaways for TechRepublic readers

  1. The HMT-1 is a modular Android pill worn as headgear for industrial functions.
  2. The machine has been beta examined by dozens of prime corporations, and will probably be launched for basic sale in August 2017.
  3. The beginning value will probably be underneath $1,500 per unit for every HMT-1.

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