The rise in use of wearable devices

Operators completing complex tasks or documenting their work need to read SOPs, input data, or view instructions often with either binder, notebook, or an interface (computer, tablet, etc). However, industrial situations at times call for the operator's full attention and use of both hands. In these situations, it is very difficult and equally important to deliver to the operators work instructions and the medium of instruction must be operable hands-free.

Towards that end, Tulip now supports apps on a head-worn device such as the RealWear HMT-1 headset, in addition to non-hands-free computers, tablets, mobile devices. The RealWear wearable device, and others like it, offer many new advantages with its heads-up display as well as an onboard camera. Some key advantages are:

  • Enabling truly hands-free applications operated by voice-only

  • Working in regulated, sterilized environments such as laboratories

  • Sharing a first-person experience or view of the operation with a remote person for assistance

  • Getting quick access to an always-on interface where instructions and data are available at a glance

  • Scanning barcodes and QR codes with onboard cameras to initiate actions or track materials or products

Combining wearable devices and digital work instructions

Implementing hands-free workflows with Tulip's Frontline Operations Platform has some additional advantages:

  • Creating multi-step media-rich work instruction apps for complex tasks based on logic

  • Updating apps in minutes with Tulip's App Editor to reflect changes in instructions, add videos, schematics, etc.

  • Reducing the tedium and risk of errors associated with manually entering measurements with easy-to-set-up connections to scales, temperature sensors, equipment statutes, etc

  • Using a validatable platform used for right-the-first-time eBR, eDHR, logbooks

Tulip enables greater connectivity and integration between a wearable headset and the devices, machines, and systems in a workstation. With Tulip’s edge connectivity and support for devices and sensors, a Tulip app on wearable headsets gives operators the ability to work hands-free without switching to a stationary screen or handheld tablet. It also provides at-a-glance data like machine status and inventory, paired with always-on instructions. For quality applications, Tulip allows capturing images and recording videos directly from the wearable headset built-in camera. With RealWear headsets, Zoom calls can be initiated for guided training sessions in maintenance and troubleshooting.

Some major use cases and examples we have identified for using Tulip on wearable devices are:

  • Getting work instructions in a hands-free situation, such as a line clearance application in a cleanroom

  • Getting remote assistance from an expert through the first-person view camera, in maintenance, repair, or training applications

  • Working in a facility where mobility is key, such as a warehouse order fulfillment application

Next, we will provide an overview of a few key aspects of running Tulip on a wearable device. This article is geared towards using the RealWear HMT-1 head-worn device, however, several other wearable devices are compatible with Tulip that can be enabled in a similar fashion.

Please contact our support team for more information on using other wearable devices.

Running Tulip on a Wearable Device

Currently, we support headsets operating on Android and Windows, but throughout this article, we will be using the RealWear headset as an example. Generally, to run Tulip on a wearable device you must first install the Tulip Player application onto their headset. Once the Player is installed, it is reachable from the main menu of the device and can be opened by voice command. To make use of the Player, an app builder will need to log into their Tulip instance. This can be done most easily with the companion app that RealWear provides. Using the companion app makes it much easier to input the login information than using a voice command.

Follow this article or watch the video below to get started with running Tulip on a RealWear headset.

Wearable devices are not an equal replacement for a PC or mobile tablet. As such, Tulip apps meant to be run on wearable devices need to be much simpler and have a concise and easy-to-use interface. An app builder should also keep in mind that the app operation modality is by voice commands and not keyboard and mouse or touch interface. With that in mind we recommend the following high-level suggestions when building a Tulip app for wearables:

  • Place a maximum of 3 buttons on any single step. A single button in a step is recommended.

  • Avoid placing embedded Tables on an app step. Each table row and cell are clickable which creates a very cluttered voice-driven interface.

  • Data entry via voice commands is time-consuming. Instead of relying on the user input, try to rely on IIoT devices and sensors to collect data directly from the operation and focus the user on verifying captured data and the process.

Check out this article for Tulip Design Guidelines for RealWear Headsets.

The wearable device isn’t meant to be used for all operations. The special input modality (voice commands and simple touch input) only affords a subset of uses in which it makes the most sense.

As we mentioned before, creating hands-free apps is most successful if combined with external devices to automate the operation, instead of relying on input to the app. An app builder should consider using the wearable app with devices that can easily connect to a Tulip edge device, or that utilize the onboard wearable camera. Here’s a list of suggested device-based applications that work best with the wearable:

  • Scanning barcodes using a handheld scanner. For example, when scanning a work order at the beginning or end of an operation, or in a warehouse.

  • Take measurements with a digital scale. For example, when preparing a unit or a batch where exact weight must be recorded.

  • Operating IIoT devices connected to a Tulip edge device such as a label printer


Tulip on wearable devices enables apps for many different hands-free operations, streamlining common processes in labs, clean rooms, and warehouses. It’s easy to run Tulip apps on wearables such as RealWear HMT-1, and Tulip provides Tulip Library apps and support articles to help those getting started.

RealWear and wearable headsets can be used across an operation in line clearances, batch records, inventory management, maintenance, training, quality control, and more, with the advanced capabilities of the Tulip platform combined with a hands-free, voice-enabled system.

Start taking advantage of Tulip on wearable devices even today, and start exploring use cases in your operation. Download Tulip Player to your wearable device, and install the Tulip Design Guidelines for Wearables from the Library today to test out the functionality. When you’ve made progress - share your work on!

Learn more about Tulip's approach to wearables

Learn how manufacturers are augmenting their workforce by combining Tulip's platform with wearable IoT devices.

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