Want to hear two interesting statistics?
According to the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration, in 2015:
- Out of 4,379 workplace fatalities, 937 (21.4%) of them were in the construction industry.
- 1 in 10 construction workers are injured every year.
For those of us with experience in the field, this is no surprise – construction is infinitely more dangerous than a standard office job. Sure, we try to be as safe as we can be, but there’s no escaping the fact that it’s a risky career.
That said, there’s big changes happening at the moment in the industry. Every now and then, there’s a new product or a new technology hitting the market with the potential to change everything. This doesn’t happen very often in the construction industry, but when it does, it’s big.
In this article, we’re going to be examining two new wearable construction products that are on the horizon and what they could mean for you in the future. Let’s do this!
1. Solepower Smartboot
The first product with the potential to revolutionize safety in the construction industry is… a new pair of boots.
But not just any old boots – these are Solepower Smartboots.
As you can probably guess from the name, these boots are cutting-edge, capable of being integrated with a variety of useful technologies – GPS, motion sensors, WIFI, lighting… all fueled by the built-in “kinetic charger”, meaning they’re powered by your movement throughout the day.
It sounds pretty cool, but what’s the benefit?
Simple – just think of the possibilities.
- A foreman who wants to see where his crew members are will able to check them out on his smartphone, thanks to the Smartboot’s GPS integration.
- Workers will be safer, receiving automatic notice of nearby hazards from the built-in motion sensors.
- If you fall and get injured while wearing these, the boots will be able to detect this accident and alert other people, getting you the help you need in a flash.
These boots may seem gimmicky on the surface, but the technology they offer is something that could really make our jobs a whole lot safer.
Now, I’m not sure I’m totally sold on the reliability of them yet (how sturdy can these things really be?), but that doesn’t mean I’m not excited to see where this goes in the future.
This product has a lot of potential to make working in the construction industry much easier, so it’s fine by me. But until then today’s standard boots will have to do.
If you’re interested in learning more about the product, you can request a demo here.
2. Ekso Bionics EksoVest
Now, this product is a little more “out there” than a pair of boots… but bear with me, because this is a fascinating one.
Ekso Bionics is a robotics company that creates robotic exoskeletons, as well as wearable technology for construction workers.
Confused? Let me explain…
Have you ever had to do any work where your hands were over your head for a long time? Maybe drilling holes, laying pipe, hanging drywall, etc.
If so, you know that it’s tiring. Your arms hurt, the tool starts to feel like it weighs a ton… it’s a bad time for all involved.
Well, the EksoVest offers a quick solution to this problem.
It fits on just like a backpack… or a little like a life jacket – you feed your arms out through the holes on either side. Here’s a shot of the product in action:
Once you’ve got it on, you activate the “lift assistance” (5-15 lbs. per arm) and get to work. The EksoVest supports you with its spring-loaded design, shifting the burden off of your body and onto the machine.
One of the best things about the EksoVest is the fact that it’s 100% mechanical – no batteries, no cables, no hassle. It’s also lightweight, clocking in at 10lbs, meaning you could wear it comfortably all day.
You might think that the idea of wearing what basically amounts to a robot suit is crazy… and you may be right. But that doesn’t mean it’s not the future.
Once again, just think of the possibilities this kind of technology offers.
Imagine how much more work you could do if you had something like the EksoVest to take the load off.
Imagine how much better you’d feel at the end of the day. No more aches and pains, just the quiet satisfaction of a job well done.
Now, I’m not telling you to run out and order one of these things (they’re not even on the market yet – if you’d like to see more, click here).
All I’m saying is that this is the future of construction. If properly implemented, I think it can only be a good thing.
A lot of this stuff can seem like it’s a waste of time to think about. You’re not concerned with what fantasy approach to employee safety they’re dreaming up for tomorrow… all you care about is getting home in one piece this evening.
I get it – I feel the same.
But some of these advancements are too exciting, too important to ignore. The Solepower Smartboot and the Ekso Bionics EksoVest are just two examples of products that could change the construction industry forever.
Me? I’m excited. Anything that helps me to do a better job while also keeping me safer is worth paying attention to.
Keep your eyes open – you never know when the next big thing is coming in hot. And if you’re not ready to adapt when the time comes, you’ll soon be left behind.