Written & Reported by Molly Frommer – CTV News Northern Ontario
Aug 30, 2022
Watch the full CTV News article & video interview here: https://northernontario.ctvnews.ca/high-tech-hard-hat-being-developed-in-sudbury-could-make-mining-safer-1.6049087
Underground mining could soon get a bit safer thanks to a research project underway in Greater Sudbury.
A Sudbury company, NSS (Northern Survey Supply) Canada, specializes in engineering measurement systems and mine surveying solutions.
It’s working with Cambrian College on an augmented reality mining hardhat project: the Microsoft HoloLens AR System. The system is already placed on construction hard hats. The goal is to incorporate it on a miner’s hard hat.
The AR system allows miners to operate machinery remotely, which reduces the risk of injury.
“Right now, the HoloLens only fits on a construction hard hat so therefore it’s obstructed by the lamp, the larger brim and obviously the ergonomics of the hard hat,” said Patrick Galipeau-Belair of Cambrian College.
“We’re working on developing a prototype and a design in order to mount the HoloLens on an underground hard hat.”
NSS Canada said the new technology will increase the level of safety for miners, and fill certain gaps in the industry.
“As we saw underground, the miner was further away from the face, they didn’t have to physically interact and that is a big safety priority for a lot of the mining companies in northern Ontario to progress to that stage,” said Matthew Brown of NSS Canada
“The most important thing to come out of the mine is the miner. So safety is paramount. Any mining operation will ensure that its employees come home safe and feel safe and with this technology. We’re hoping it’s one more additional level of safety that the miners feel comfortable using.”
Matteo Neville is heading into his second year of mechatronics engineering technology at Cambrian College.
Neville said he’s currently designing a bracket to mount a HoloLens system onto a hard hat for miners. It’s technology that has real value, he said.
“It’s definitely innovative, new technology and it can definitely save time and money,” Neville said.
“It’s really exciting to see where this is going to go.”
Brown said business and education sectors working together can refine existing technologies for specific industries.
“We see right at being the path forward with a lot of the technology that we’re trying to transition … where the original owners are never going to make that jump because it’s just not their market,” he said.
“So it’s up to companies like NSS to contact companies like Cambrian R&D and really drive that innovation within Sudbury mining.”
The first prototype is expected within the next two months.