Wearables getting real

MINING technology company Imdex is using head-mounted, assisted reality devices developed by Realwear to circumvent COVID-19 travel restrictions and help clients install and use its latest products, without being on site.

 The HMT-1

The HMT-1

With border closures and travel restrictions keeping many sites isolated Imdex is deploying Realwear's flagship HMT-1 device to guide its clients remotely.

The HMT-1 is a rugged, head-mounted and hands-free voice-controlled device that uses a high-definition camera to take pictures and video from the wearer's perspective.

Fitted with two-way audio and a high-resolution micro-display the device provides real-time data needed to operate, inspect and maintain equipment.

Imdex is using the devices on sites in South Australia, New Zealand, the US and South America.

According to Realwear Asia Pacific vice-president John Higgs, the HMT-1 was faster, safer and smarter than a tablet or smart glasses.

He said it was a privilege to support Imdex in its initiatives.

"HMT-1 devices provide a reality-first, digital-second experience," Higgs said.

"Previously, industrial workers have not been able to use wearables, as they were overly immersive and not rugged enough [however] Realwear is unique in its ability to deliver hands-free connectivity without distracting the worker on a very rugged device capable of being deployed even in explosive environments."

Imdex global equipment integration engineer Chris Havenga said the hands-free aspect of the device made it well suited for underground mining, where operators sometimes must hold tools and tablets while working.

"It's worth having a device supplied to clients along with our products and tools and if there are any issues, operators can put it on and get the experts to assist for that particular site at the time they are having the problem," he said.

"We can join them remotely while they are working, assess the issues and provide a solution."

Havenga said the devices would become a standard inclusion for Imdex client support, along with manuals and tutorials.



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