Back to R&D main

Trial of HMT-1 industrial wearable computer in processing environments

Project start date: 19 June 2019
Project end date: 30 October 2020
Publication date: 15 July 2021
Project status: Completed
Livestock species: Sheep, Goat, Grain-fed Cattle, Grass-fed Cattle, Lamb
Relevant regions: National
Download Report (1.4 MB)

Summary

Connected worker digital transformation is not happening in the industry due to the need for workers to use both hands.

This project was designed to identify core functionality, potential productivity and safety improvements enabled by the RealWear HMT-1 (Head-Mounted-Tablet 1) wearable computer and leading voice-operated software, in meat and animal-processing facilities. The trial units allowed 'hands-free' use of software at the point of need, which consists of a voice activated, head mounted screen with computer processing capability.

The project report details how an off-the-shelf device can be activated same-day, and used for ‘virtual walk-throughs’ with off-site experts, improve internal communication, auditing or training of new workers and capture the knowledge of older experts leaving the industry.

Objectives

The objective of this project was to provide a step-by-step demonstration of how to set up and use augmented reality headsets for productivity and remote support. The project also conducted virtual tours, auditing, training and knowledge capture activiites.

Key findings

  • Through onsite trials and demonstrations, the HMT-1 headset received excellent feedback and, without a lot of experience, workers were able to use and see vast potential in a hands-free wearable computing system.
  • Through initial meetings, handover and training on the wearable devices and regular communication on conference-calls, we identified strong use-cases, built custom workflows, and enabled the workers at these facilities to start operating the devices autonomously on-site.
  • The challenges of COVID and travel restrictions, combined with high-level safety and accountability standards and a general skills crisis in regional areas are universal. The headseat and other solutions developed and implemented in other industries can be applied to the agricultural world.

Benefits to industry

An off the shelf wearable headset provides a speech enabled point-of-view (PoV) camera that can easily capture a hi-res photo or video record. This is a game changer from an auditing perspective, moving beyond RFID or printed barcodes and providing visual evidence of each point in the supply chain.

MLA action

Head mounted units have been provided to industry partners for trial and evaluation. Contacts provided by MLA program managers has resulted in trial and uptake of these devices at feedlots and by veterinary groups.

Future research

  • Due to the universality of the findings and the off-the-shelf availability of the solutions, a webinar for the industry and for the wider RDC community is recommended.
  • Examining the wearable device usage further down the supply chain is also recommended.

More information

Contact email: reports@mla.com.au
Primary researcher: Virtual Method