Augmented reality is coming. Whether it's a dedicated screen strapped to your face or a just a pair of glasses, computer-enhanced vision will have a place in our tech future. But exactly what package it will arrive in is up for grabs.


Where Google Glass and VR companies aim for wide consumer applications, the Los Angeles-based startup Daqri has a specific demographic in mind—blue-collar workers. The Daqri Smart Helmet wants to help make the lives of onsite engineers, construction workers, and technicians easier with an Android-powered hard hat, complete with an array of sensors. "What the Daqri Smart Helmet allows the worker to do is take work instructions and augment data or information right on top of the actual work environment," says president Andy Lowery in a video showing off the device. This idea joins other ambitious projects, like the Skully Motorcycle Helmet, to bring a heads-up display to more niche customers.

The Daqri team will pack in a bunch of cameras so the headgear can "see" in 360 degrees and a high-precision depth sensor. The Wall Street Journal explains Daqri also embedded two Qualcomm Snapdragon processors and can also record data from its multiple cameras. The video also shows that this next-gen hard hat will pair with smartwatches for additional features and also have a retractable display so AR is only there when you need it.

The above product video is more "gee whiz" than what the actual experience will be like, but despite its science fiction-like features, the helmet is more real than you'd think. According to WSJ, Daqri hopes to ship units as early as next month. Of course, as you'd expect, one of the hard hat's biggest downfalls is cost as Lowery says they've spared no expense, so you can expect these hard hats to run at least a few thousand dollars. [The Wall Street Journal via Engadget]