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OpenSpace Brings Hard Hat-Mounted Machine Vision Tech To Construction Sites

OpenSpace, a San Francisco tech startup, aims to bring artificial intelligence to construction sites by putting 360-degree cameras on hard hats.

According to the company, the technology creates a visual record more powerful than memory or any written document. That fills accountability gaps, helps close RFI updates, and promotes security inspections. 

A camera mounted on a hard hat that is using OpenSpace tech

As site foremen or safety managers go about their jobs during the day, the camera scans their surroundings from all angles and keeps a visual record of what happened and when — an AI technology known as machine vision.

When the day is done, the camera is plugged into a computer. The 360-degree footage from the day is uploaded to OpenSpace’s servers, which use a proprietary AI algorithm to make sense of what the camera recorded.

The tech amounts to a 360-degree visual time machine, allowing a contractor to visit a particular place at the job, at any moment in time, OpenSpace CEO Jeevan Kalanithi said.

That is useful, Kalanithi said, because it isn't always clear what happened where and when on a construction site.

“Office workers have had the ability to create, edit, share, and revisit their work for a long time, but that has never truly existed in the construction industry," he told Venture Beat.

Other 3D capture systems exist in the construction industry, such as Doxel, which uses robots to autonomously capture 3D scans of construction sites.

OpenSpace's distinction is that it doesn't require robots or any additional labor or other costs to operate. Once the camera is mounted on a hard hat, the wearer can forget about it.

"We’re doing some neat things with machine vision in the real world," Kalanithi wrote last year at the founding of the company. 

Tech entrepreneur Kalanithi founded OpenSpace with machine vision specialist Philip DeCamp and Michael Fleischman, who previously founded a company that specialized in the analysis of massive amounts of video.

According to Kalanithi, the company has been able to raise startup capital from a number of sources, including Lux Capital, Foundation Capital, Goldcrest, the Box Group, Sterling Capital, AngelList and Comet Labs.