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How Google Glass may soon revolutionize heavy equipment inspections

Updated: Mar 11

Google Glass, the innovative wearable computing device, has amazing potential for industrial applications, potentially including conducting pre-use inspections of mining and construction equipment. Here’s what is already being tested in other industries:

Passenger jet inspections get Glassified Japan Airlines, in conjunction with the Nomura Research Institute, is conducting a trial of Glass headsets to determine their utility as inspection tools. Cargo and maintenance personnel wearing the glasses inspect the airline’s planes while they are at the gate, being loaded with people and cargo.

High-risk, hands-free inspections a perfect fit for Glass One Australian developer, Safety Culture, is experimenting with extending its safety audits, checklists and inspection forms from iPhones and iPads to Google Glass. Founder Luke Anear has been quoted in the media as saying that it’s especially important for hands-free operations in dangerous locations - such as a repair person climbing a lighting tower or a radio mast.

Glass "builds" acceptance as a building inspection tool A third company, Concept Safety, is developing technology that uses Glass to collect site, building and floor plan data. Objects photographed during a building tour - such as the locations of fire extinguishers - could be specially flagged and gathered into visual resource collections so others can benefit from it.

What about heavy equipment inspections?

What does all of this have to do with pre-use equipment inspections? Plenty! Here’s how we envision it working:

  1. An equipment operator puts on Google Glass and spends 3 minutes watching a refresher video in his headset about how to conduct a walk-around inspection of his machine.

  2. As he begins his walk-around, Glass monitors his location and what’s being displayed in his field of view. It then transmits documents, drawings and training content that highlight the components that need to be inspected at each location - and what they should look like if they’re in good operating condition.

  3. Using Glass touches and gestures, an operator fills out an inspection form and dictates notes on several components that maintenance may need to look at in the near future.

  4. Once the inspection form is complete, he transmits it to your company’s business system for recording in its database.

The evolution of technology in safety applications There’s no question that wearable technology is going to have an impact on the jobsite. It’s no longer a question of when, but rather how. One North American company, Devtra, is already marketing equipment inspection checklists for mobile devices. Think of Google Glass as the next evolutionary step, which will help to make field inspections even more portable, consistent and timely. Interested in related products? See: Equipment Simulators

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