What we quickly realized was that, if we were going to make a head-mounted AR system accessible and appealing to all workers, a traditional smart glasses design wasn’t going to work. They would only benefit from a long-wear, hands-free solution that was compatible with the other enterprise-grade wearables, mobile computers and scanners they use in the course of their day. And that wasn’t something that either Zebra or Six15 was going to figure out in a lab-based R&D environment or by solely applying Six15’s experience with HUD technology in military environments, which is where Six15’s solutions were first utilized.
In fact, there were many unique considerations and learnings that informed our development of the recently-released Zebra HD4000 head-mounted display as Todd and I spoke about in a recent sit down with Zebra’s Senior Director of Product Marketing, Mike Petersen.
As you will hear in the podcast and some of the shorter videos below, every design element and feature of the HD4000 was influenced by customer/end-user feedback during real-world testing.
Design Matters: How Workers (Like You) Helped Us See the Best Way Forward with AR
As soon as we sat down for our first design meeting with Zebra, we immediately zeroed in on a set of key pain points that were impacting the overall user experience:
1. Comfort: Most HUD devices on the market today are hard to wear all day, and many don’t accommodate user-specific requirements, such as prescription lenses. Plus, HUDs often include electronics and batteries that can generate an uncomfortable amount of heat on the user’s head. We had to address these things and more as I explain in the podcast.
2. Suitability for enterprise applications: We had to make sure the system is truly usable in everyday industrial work environments. Delivering enough battery life to last the duration of the task at hand – whether for a couple of hours or for an entire 12-hour shift – is a must. The ability to withstand accidental drops from head level and resistance to sweat and rain are also necessary for front-line workers to trust that their head-mounted displays will always work. But durability wasn’t our only concern.