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Vancouver-based Recon Instruments, now a division of Intel Corp., and Herndon, Va.-based APX Labs have joined forces to develop smart safety glasses for field service, maintenance, and manufacturing-based enterprise clients, the companies announced last week in Barcelona, where they demonstrated a consumer version of their new product during the Mobile World Congress.

Available immediately, the glasses, which the companies are alternately calling Skylight on Jet and Recon Jet with Skylight, presently consists of Recon’s Jet eyewear running APX’s Skylight manufacturing software, though the enterprise version is still being tested and will double as fully functional safety glasses (which happen to display information relevant to the user’s work) when released.

“So in a work environment where people are already walking in wearing safety eyewear, what the Jet is doing with the Skylight software is making them connected workers,” Jay Kim, APX Labs’ chief strategy officer, explained.

“For us, the Recon Jet is another endpoint in an enterprise environment,” Christopher Croteau, Intel’s director of strategic business development, said. “Just like phones and tablets, we’re expecting that head-mounted displays and products like the Jet will be commonplace in enterprise and industrial workforces.”

Skylight, the first version of which was released by APX Labs back in 2010, allows workers in a variety of manufacturing sectors to connect with back-end systems, control smart tools and machines, and receive remote support from colleagues. By installing the software onto Recon’s Jet hardware, Croteau said, workers receive the benefit of using Skylight completely hands-free.

“If you’re an inspector or working on a manufacturing line or pulling pieces in warehousing… all of those things require you to use your hands,” Croteau said. “With the Jet, the information is right in the user’s field of view… so they can actually be operating the machinery or focusing on the task they’re doing while getting the benefit of the just-in-time information.”

Originally marketed to athletes, though it was also built with enterprise users in mind, the Recon Jet combines a smartphone-level wearable computer with an LCD display that is positioned just below the user’s right eye.

Croteau said that while the enterprise unit’s price is still being determined, it will likely be more expensive than the Jet’s consumer version, which retails for $499.

For more information, visit APX Labs’ website.



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