Michigan Patent of the Month – October 2021

Hard hats and helmets are a key tool when work is done in unsafe places – from construction sites to lumber mills and more. They can protect the wearer from injury to the head from falling objects, scraping or bumping their head on equipment, or contact with electrical conductors. A set of suspension bands inside the helmet help to lift it slightly off the head and spread the helmet’s weight – and the force of any impact – over the top of the user’s head. Some attempts to make this personal protective equipment a “smart” device include attaching sensors such as heart rate or body temperature sensors to the helmet. Guardhat, Inc. has designed ahat that better supports these smart features by providing the electrical connectivity to support these sensors. 

They have modified the suspension band to include a primary support loop which sits around the head. An electronic peripheral is secured to this loop, with an anchor fixed to the back end of the strap to connect the primary support loop to the hard hat. A peripheral is any auxiliary device which puts information in or receives information from a computer. An electrical anchor contact is then fixed to the anchor, providing an electrical connection between the hard hat and the electronic peripheral. The design allows them to connect with nearby 3rd-party sensors and devices. Their goals with this smart hard hat and it’s electrical connection is to enhance safety and create a new way of seeing things that couldn’t be seen before, and of empowering the workforce to make better decisions. With better understanding of the hard hat wearer’s vitals can improve response time and decisions made to improve safety.

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