SUDBURY – Underground mining could get a little safer, thanks to a new research project involving NSS Canada and Cambrian R&D.
The company and Cambrian College’s Applied Research division have teamed up to supplement the standard underground mining hardhat to accommodate augmented reality (AR) technology.
NSS wants to install the Microsoft HoloLens 2 AR system on the hardhats of clients who work underground. But the harness for the system doesn’t work with a standard mining hardhat.
“Right now, the harness we have for the HoloLens 2 system only works on helmets that are meant for surface work, and are not suitable for underground,” explains Bruno Lalonde, President of NSS Canada. “A miner’s helmet has a front brim, a bracket for a cap lamp, and special mountings for ear protection. There is no harness for the HoloLens that works for that configuration, and in fact the stock harnesses interfere with those safety functions, so we need a solution, and that’s why we approached Cambrian R&D given our working relationship with them.”
Developing a harness that allows the HoloLens 2 system to be attached to a standard miner’s helmet could make underground mining safer, according to Cambrian R&D.
“The AR system could make underground mining safer by allowing miners to operate machinery at a greater distance away from the mining face, reducing the risk of being hit by falling or flying rock or other debris,” says Dr. Mike Commito, Director of Cambrian R&D. “We’re very excited to see what we can come up with, because a small harness might have big implications for the use of AR underground and mining safety in the process.”
The project will begin in September, with a first prototype expected within two months.
Students and faculty in a number of Cambrian College programs will be part of this research project, helping to manufacture the prototype. All of Cambrian’s R&D projects with industry include paid student researchers and faculty.
“We love working with Cambrian R&D because they have the facilities and expertise to help us solve our real-world problems in real-time,” adds Bruno Lalonde of NSS Canada. “It also gives us the opportunity, as a company, to find and recruit new talent.”
Cambrian College is Northern Ontario’s largest college, with more than 90 programs. Cambrian’s main campus is in Greater Sudbury, with satellite centres in Espanola and Little Current. For more information about Cambrian College, visit www.cambriancollege.ca.
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