In response to the magnitude of workplace dangers and health threats, in 1970 the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) spun off NIOSH: the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. NIOSH conducts research and recommends ways to prevent work-related injuries and illness. Wearable tech focused on reducing workplace injuries range from Snickers Workwear that senses temperature, noise level, and knee impact on the job to the Spire wearable that tracks worker stress levels to head off injury before it occurs.

At CES 2017 DAQRI introduced the Smart Helmet, an augmented reality (AR) wearable designed to improve workplace efficiency, productivity, and safety. DAQRI reduced the form factor, and now the company’s Smart Glasses serve the same functions as the helmet. With DAQRI Smart Glasses, AR can highlight dangerous areas or machinery and can signal threatening conditions. For example, it can warn a worker about a slippery floor, dangerous temperatures, or a hot electrical circuit. By accessing reference, instructional, or procedural material via the glasses, workers can keep their hands free to perform tasks in the right order to complete a given job correctly and safely. Integrated sensors can also monitor and report workers’ vital signs to central monitoring stations where supervising employees can respond to alerts or indicators that show when a field worker is too tired, stressed, or distracted to continue safely. Integrated two-way communications not only enable a worker to ask for information, but also give supervisors the capability to send workers advice, suggestions, or orders.

Sensors, wireless connectivity, and augmented reality working in concert have great potential for improved productivity and well as increased workplace safety.