The Daqri new smart helmet using augmented reality.

James Martin/CNET

If its weren't for the tech inside, I'd have been disappointed that the Daqri is a smart helmet and not a beverage someone is handing me poolside here at the CES show in Las Vegas.

Instead, this gleaming white headpiece is a suave wearable that uses its clear plastic panels not just to protect the eyes of wearers in an industrial landscape, but also to project AR, or augmented reality, onto the screen. The point is to keep its wearer's hands unencumbered by extra devices or paper instructions. The substance of what someone might see on the head-up display is entirely based on the person's job role at the site. The interactive information displayed can be as subtle as a gleam or an arrow or as detailed as a schematic.

Say the job is to fix a pipe. The visor may depict navigational arrows to show the wearer where to walk, an "X" to mark the spot on the pipe that needs to be fixed, and a list of instructions or depictions to guide the wearer through the task.

The Daqri Smart Helmet will go on sale sometime before the end of March (Q1), but costs may vary. Since this the company will sell the device to corporations and not individuals, the industrial-grade helmet will sell as part of a bundle, somewhere in the ballpark of $5,000 to $15,000 a unit (roughly £3,420 to £10,254 or AU$7,080 to AU$21,240).

I slipped the smart helmet on my head. It was heavy, and sturdy as promised, with a transparent visor that will be able to retract (when it reaches its final product stage) to get out of the way when it isn't needed. Although any portion of the clear plastic display is ripe for AR projection, vice president of innovation Matt Kammerait, says that there's always going to be a section you can see through that won't have data splashed on it.

The Daqri helmet may not be anything like a refreshing drink, but it is an industrial application that uses AR in a practical way -- one that's sure to become more integrated in other workplace environments, too.

What's inside

  • Sixth-gen Intel Core m7 processor
  • Intel RealSense technology
  • 360-degree sensors with high-definition video