Bringing augmented reality underground for added safety

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Bringing augmented reality underground for greater safety

Augmented Reality Headsets Allow Miners to Stand deviation from the advancing face of the underground galleries, which can be unstable.

The research and development department of Cambrian College, in Sudbury, and the company NSS Canada will develop in the coming months a harness which will make it possible to attach an augmented reality system to a miner's helmet in order to improve the underground safety.

These kinds of technologies allow workers to operate equipment while staying out of dangerous underground areas.

Technological innovations are also helping to alleviate labor shortages, according to NSS Canada.

The company wants to use Microsoft's HoloLens 2 system with its x27; MOSS (Miner-Operated Survey System) surveying, but currently available harnesses are only compatible with construction helmets used on the surface.

A miner's helmet has a front brim, a holder for a lamp, special fasteners for ear protection. There is no harness for the HoloLens that works with this setup, says NSS Canada President Bruno Lalonde.

The harnesses supplied with Microsoft's augmented reality system interfere with the safety features of miners' helmets.

If the miner cannot see anything, it negates the safety benefits of the augmented reality system, notes Matthew Brown, CEO of NSS Canada.

The most important thing that comes out of a mine is the miner, adds Mr. Brown.

The best solution is to develop the support ourselves, says the general manager of NSS Canada.

“Or rather, since we don't have the expertise in-house, it's to call on the research and development department of Cambrian, since they have the technical skills and the tools necessary to develop and build prototypes.

—Matthew Brown, Executive Director of NSS Canada

The project will begin in September and a prototype is expected within two months.

The first stage of the project is the design, explains Patrick Galipeau-Belair, mechanical engineer at Cambrian College. We're going to do this on the computer.

The next step, with our 3D printers, will be to print a prototype and have it tested on a helmet.

< p class="e-p">Mr. Galipeau-Belair believes this is a very interesting learning opportunity for students. It gives them practice. They can work on real projects, with real companies.

Matteo Neville, a college student, participates in the project. It is certainly a very exciting project. I think it will be very useful for my career.

Several students are hired by companies that collaborate with the college on this type of project, according to Patrick Galipeau-Belair.

NSS Canada also designs the software that allows the augmented reality system to be used with its surveying system.

Matthew Brown reports that the development of the software part of the system is almost complete.

It is hoped that it will be ready for sale early next year , says the general manager of NSS Canada.

According to him, mining companies are very interested in new technologies.

With information from Bienvenu Senga

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