DAQRI is Closing Up Shop
Andrew Wheeler posted on October 09, 2019 |

Industrial and enterprise-focused AR startup DAQRI recently announced that they will soon be closing up shop. They are selling their assets and beginning the process of ending the company. Their Smart Glasses and Worksense cloud solutions ended last month in September. The company had received $275 million in investment capital, including a whopping $260 million in 2017. 

Looking at the progression of their products shows a company hard at work. But they clearly ran into some engineering challenges that they could not solve. 

1.) DAQRI Smart Helmet: Released in 2016, the DAQRI Smart Helmet (DSH) was a combination safety helmet and augmented reality headset that overlays virtual instructions, safety information, training and visual mapping over specific reality data. Workers in oil and gas, automation and manufacturing sectors who needed to understand or follow complex instructions to perform complex processes were to look through the DSH and see digital information overlaid on a variety of different contexts—whether it is a Siemens controller, scanning device or quality control equipment for metrology purposes.


The DSH overlays digital instructions over equipment in realtime and adjusts to the movements of the workers. (Image courtesy of DAQRI.)
The DSH overlayed digital instructions over equipment in real-time and adjusted to the movements of the workers. (Image courtesy of DAQRI.)

The helmet came with its own battery and docking station, weighing as much as any typical industrial hardhat. The DSH varies widely in price, fetching anywhere from $5,000 to $15,000, because the features needed to be custom built. Autodesk, GE and Hyperloop are some of the corporations testing and using the DSH in situ. Custom built applications in AR for enterprise likely remain the only viable niche market in 2019. 

Powered by the sixth-generation Intel Core m7 processor and RealSense scanning technology, the DSH was the first functional and practical head-mounted display (HMD) that used augmented reality to help human workers perform difficult tasks.

The DSH's face shield and injection-molded plastic helmet component were ANSI-compliant. This was a big deal at the time. The inner part of the helmet's shell was a combination of cast aluminum and carbon fiber composite.

Thermal PoV through the DSH. (Image courtesy of DAQRI.)
Thermal PoV through the DSH. (Image courtesy of DAQRI.)

DAQRI's multiple cameras worked together to make this the first fully industrial augmented reality headset. It featured a 13-megapixel HD camera to capture videos and photos, track objects and recognize 2D targets and colors. Intel's RealSense technology has two infrared cameras built in, and DAQRI's engineers integrated them with an infrared laser projector that can sense depth by measuring deflected infrared light. A low-resolution camera was integrated with an industrial-grade inertial measurement unit (IMU), which allowed the helmet to compute its relative position in space in real time via a combination of gyroscopes and accelerometers. For sound, there were four microphones, volume and power buttons and an output jack for headphones.

Workers wearing the DSH could see augmented instructions that change relative to their actual environment. The worker could look at a machine with 100 readouts, and the DSH would draw their attention to a pressure gauge reading too high or too low, for example. The DSH's infrared cameras could constantly monitor equipment by overlaying normal thermal data and current thermal data to make distinctions and judgements on the fly. Workers equipped with the DSH could visually scan for out-of-tolerance thermal anomalies that would have put an operation in danger.


The DSH’s face shield and the hard helmet itself are ANSIcompliant. The outer shell is injection-molded plastic. (Image courtesy of DAQRI.)
The DSH's face shield and the hard helmet itself were ANSI compliant. The outer shell was injection-molded plastic. (Image courtesy of DAQRI.)

2.) DAQRI Smart Glasses: Back in November of 2017, DAQRI released their augmented reality Smart Glasses. This seemed like a great follow-up offering at the time. And perhaps it was. At $4995 though, the system was likely not cheap enough for a high volume of individuals to consider. However, for the enterprise and industrial customers DAQRI was targeting, $4995 per pair might have proven to be a valuable investment if they could demonstrate a valuable increase in productivity when deployed in training, visualization, and manufacturing, as well as service and repair operations. Alas, a viable ROI may not have been in the cards.

DAQRI Smart Glasses run a homegrown Visual Operating System (VOS) built internally. They weigh 0.7 pounds, use Intel Core m7 processors and give the user a 44-degree Field-of-View (FoV) to play with. Bluetooth and Wi-Fi enabled, they display content at 90 frames per second at a resolution of 1360 x 768.n With an array of sensors, an HD color camera, a wide-angle tracking camera, a depth-sensing camera, the DAQRI Smart Glasses, coupled with the new Worksense application suite are primed for industrial testing and enterprise use cases. (Image courtesy of DAQRI.)
DAQRI Smart Glasses ran a homegrown Visual Operating System (VOS) built internally. They weighed 0.7 pounds, used Intel Core m7 processors and gave the user a 44-degree Field-of-View (FoV) to play with. Bluetooth and Wi-Fi enabled, they displayed content at 90 frames per second at a resolution of 1360 x 768. With an array of sensors, an HD color camera, a wide-angle tracking camera, and a depth-sensing camera, the DAQRI Smart Glasses, coupled with the new Worksense application suite, seemed primed for industrial testing and enterprise use cases. (Image courtesy of DAQRI.)

3.) DAQRI Worksense: DAQRI Worksense was a productivity suite of five applications for DAQRI Smart Glasses. It was available in two editions: Standard and Pro.

DAQRI Worksense Standard and Pro came with five augmented reality applications: Show, Tag, Scan, Model: BIM Edition and Guide.

Available first through the DAQRI Worksense Early Adopter Program, the only application available to accepted applicants was Show. But the company had plans to release previews for customers and deploy new Worksense apps plus additional features.

The Difference Between DAQRI Worksense Pro and Standard Editions

For USD 549, customers could opt for a DAQRI Worksense Pro Subscription, buying 24 months of access to additional features to engage in analytics and collaboration at the enterprise level. The company offered a discounted promotion for early adopters interested in the DAQRI Worksense Pro subscription at $389 for a few months.

DAQRI Show

The only Worksense app currently available, DAQRI Show enables users to channel other people into your work environment, and allows them to see what you see, direct you if needed, and make annotations on your view. Hands-free communication with remote experts or customers, DAQRI Show is distilled from customer feedback and engagement with the DAQRI Remote Expert app, which customers have been using for the last twelve months.
The only Worksense app that was made available was DAQRI Show. DAQRI Show enabled users to channel other people into their work environment, and allowed them to engage in hands-free communication with remote experts or customers. DAQRI Show was distilled from customer feedback and engagement with the DAQRI Remote Expert app. (Image courtesy of DAQRI.)

DAQRI Tag

This application will allow users to tag their work environment with information and multimedia content. This means that assets can be tagged within a facility like a factory, manufacturing training operation, or any workspace. DAQRI Tag also has a feature that lets users link to live data from IoT systems like Honeywell BMS or IBM Maximo, simplifying hands-free work in areas like maintenance and compliance. (Image courtesy of DAQRI.)
This application was supposed to allow users to tag their work environment with information and multimedia content. This meant that assets could be tagged within a facility such as a factory, manufacturing training operation, or any workspace. DAQRI Tag also was to have a feature that allowed users to link to live data from IoT systems like Honeywell BMS or IBM Maximo, simplifying hands-free work in areas like maintenance and compliance. (Image courtesy of DAQRI.)
DAQRI Scan
This application allows users to capture as-built models of environments in photorealistic 3D models. DAQRI Scan is an application for asset installations, retrofits and change detection and the 3D models will be available for use in engineering software from Siemens and Autodesk, tools like SketchUp or gaming engines like Unity. (Image courtesy of DAQRI.)
This application was to allow users the ability to capture as-built models of environments in photorealistic 3D models. DAQRI Scan was an application for asset installations, retrofits and change detection. The 3D models were to be available for use in engineering software from Siemens and Autodesk, tools like SketchUp or gaming engines like Unity. (Image courtesy of DAQRI.)

DAQRI Model: BIM Edition

This AR application from the Worksense productivity suite allows users to leverage high-resolution 3D models from Autodesk BIM 360, enabling users to create full-scale 1:1 walkthroughs of 3D model assets. This will allow architects, structural engineers and construction operators to stay on the same page through multiple stages of design and construction. This will also enable these parties to iterate with greater expedience and less delay between office and on-site environments. (Image courtesy of DAQRI.)
This AR application from the Worksense productivity suite was to allow users the ability to leverage high-resolution 3D models from Autodesk BIM 360, enabling users to create full-scale 1:1 walkthroughs of 3D model assets. This was supposed to have allowed architects, structural engineers and construction operators to stay on the same page through multiple stages of design and construction. This would have also enabled these parties to iterate with greater expedience and less delay between office and on-site environments. (Image courtesy of DAQRI.)

DAQRI Guide

Augmented reality is ideal for overlaying digital information in different industrial and enterprise environments, and DAQRI Guide allows users to do this with instructions and reference media, parceling out specific content designed for individuals responsible for different segments of a company’s business in multiple environments. (Image courtesy of DAQRI.)

Augmented reality is still theoretically ideal for overlaying digital information in different industrial and enterprise environments, and DAQRI Guide was created to allow users the ability to do this with instructions and reference media, parceling out specific content designed for individuals responsible for different segments of a company’s business in multiple environments. (Image courtesy of DAQRI.)

Bottom Line

DAQRI was probably the most promising industrial AR startup covered in the last five years. Even though they had extensive venture capital investments, perhaps the engineering challenges required to take augmented reality to the next level are greater than the $275 million received by the company. Magic Leap has acquired $1.4 billion in investment capital and Microsoft has Microsoft amount of dollars behind their HoloLens program, which recently beat out Magic Leap to the tune of a $500 million dollar contract with the United States Armed Forces to provide military training to personnel. 

DAQRI joins a growing list of startup companies such as Osterhaut Design Group (ODG) and Metavision who've gone under in the last year. But there are still major forces in the augmented reality space. Those tech giants with a lot of cash to burn on projects that may be shelved for years until new technology allows them to create the augmented reality headsets they desire. Facebook recently spoke about the augmented reality glasses they're building at the Oculus Connect developer conference. They also announced a project called “Live Maps”, which will build 3D maps of the world. Andrew Bosworth, Facebook's head of augmented and virtual reality confirmed that the company had built a few prototypes, but wouldn't elaborate with any further details. It's extremely hard for startups to succeed (a 90 percent failure rate is generally the accepted wisdom) on their own when they have to compete with the bottomless troves of cash possessed by juggernauts like Facebook and Microsoft. Next on the list to fold: Magic Leap.

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