An Interesting Upgrade to an Interesting AR Headset

The X-Craft headset launched by Rokid Inc. (Redwood City, CA) last December does not look quite like other AR glasses products. Nor do the specifications to which the X-Craft was designed read like those of other consumer AR glasses. The reason is that the X-Craft is intended for rugged, industrial applications. Targeted applications include high risk environments such as field oil and gas, electric power, aviation and rail transport sectors.

Activities for which the AR glasses are represented as well suited include operations, inspections, remote training and collaboration, facility maintenance, safety and quality inspections.

In order to make the X-Craft suitable for use in rugged applications, a design choice was made to configure the headset so that it could be attached to a standard hardhat helmet rather than worn directly on the user’s head. Another choice was to design the X-Craft to meet the requirements for a Zone 1 explosion proof protection rating. More specifically, the X-Craft is IP66 rated and ATEX/IECEx certified.

Definitions of the terminology used in the paragraph above can help readers better understand the standards to which the X-Craft headset was designed.

  • Zone 1: An area in which an explosive gas atmosphere is likely to occur in normal operation.
  • IP66 certification: Rated as dust tight and protected against heavy seas or powerful jets of water.
  • ATEX certification: Given to equipment that has gone through rigorous testing outlined by European Union directives. Products that are ATEX compliant have been proven safe to use in specific environments with explosive atmospheres, according to the zone/s they are certified to be used in.
  • IECEx: Provides a means for manufacturers, regulators and users of equipment used in hazardous areas to address the risk of fires or explosions from flammable gases or dusts.

A video appended to the end of this article illustrates the Rokid X-Craft headset. The headset is also pictured in the figure below in which it is attached to a hardhat helmet.

Rokid X craftThe Rokid X-Craft AR headset attached to a hardhat helmet.

The Rokid X-Craft headset is standalone and does not require connection to a PC. The headset includes a binocular diffractive optical waveguide that enables video imagery to overlay a view of the outside world. The weight of the headset is evenly distributed to enhance comfort during prolonged usage. The headband includes a hinge mechanism that allows the glasses to be flipped up and out of the user’s direct line of view. Also included are large physical dials and buttons that enable the user to easily operate the headset even while wearing protective gloves.

Other features and specifications of the Rokid X-Craft headset include the following:

  • Contrast ratio 400:1
  • Maximum brightness 1600 nits
  • Light transmittance greater than 80%
  • Field of view 40° diagonal
  • Utilizes an Amlogic A311D chipset and Rokid developed Yoda OS-XR operating system based on Android
  • Memory 4 GB, storage 128 GB
  • Main camera with 8M pixels, supports auto focus and 1080P video
  • HD secondary camera
  • A shading lens allows the user to see content in different environments and lighting
  • 3 DoF non-positional tracking
  • 9 axis IMU, light sensor, proximity sensor
  • USB Type-C
  • WiFi 6, also supports 5G, Bluetooth 5.0
  • Battery capacity10000 mAh, battery life 8 hours
  • Flexible, retractable head strap has a detachable buckle to allow attachment of the headset to helmets having a large range of sizes
  • The headset is sold without controllers
  • A one key SOS alarm function
  • 3 noise reduction microphones – used in conjunction with an AI algorithm can accurately detect voice commands up to 85 decibels in a noisy industrial working environment

The Rokid X-Craft’s headband side rail design allows attachment of a variety of accessories and peripheral devices to increase the functionality of the headset. Available attachments include an industrial endoscope and an infrared sensor module.

Company literature explains that there are some situations in which frontline workers need superior video production quality. More than that, there are situations that are likely to need superior video call quality. In other words, stable real time and recorded video is believed critical to actual applications of the Rokid X-Craft headset.

To better achieve this goal, Rokid has just announced a collaboration with Imint Image Intelligence AB (Uppsala, Sweden), a provider of video enhancement software. Under the agreement, Imint’s Vidhance software will be integrated into Rokid’s X-Craft headset. Vidhance video stabilization software is a technology that intelligently compensates for camera movement to deliver “the most stable video possible,” especially in low light environments.

The company adds up all of the features and capabilities of the Rokid X-Craft headset by advertising that it provides the user “multi-person collaboration, screen and camera sharing, live annotation, whiteboard, and video recording, all of which can assist frontline workers in solving complex issues efficiently, and help companies avoid additional travel costs and maintenance downtime.” -Arthur Berman