Researchers from the Sustainable Minerals Institute’s Julius Kruttschnitt Minerals Research Centre (JKMRC) have adapted a software and technology package to improve the safety and effectiveness of remote mine site surveying.
The package integrates camera-equipped Smart Glasses, a portable wireless modem, Bluetooth earphones and an easy-to-use software suite to create a reliable, high-quality link between a mine site and mineral processing experts potentially thousands of kilometres away.
Traditional metallurgical surveys performed by the JKMRC involve data and sample collection and process troubleshooting within a process plant by a team of researchers and site engineers in order to optimize and model the process. COVID-19 travel restrictions have made remote methods of surveying a necessity.
JKMRC’s Advanced Process Prediction and Control Group Leader Associate Professor Mohsen Yahyaei, who leads the project, said the new technology makes the already-convenient solution safer, more user friendly and more reliable.
“In assembling the Smart Glasses package, it was essential to design something that, if I gave it to someone inexperienced, they could safely use the tool without the need to be an expert in working with high tech devices,” Assoc Prof Yahyaei said.
“To that end, it’s been configured so everything is already set-up when it arrives on-site, the operator essentially just needs to know how to turn on the Smart Glasses and the Wi-Fi modem.”
“With high-quality video and constant communication with the site operator, we will be able to access the same information as we would if we were there in person”.
“The Smart Glasses also ensure the process is safer than many other methods because it doesn’t occupy your hands, obscure your field of view or distract you in the way a mobile phone or other communication devices might”.
“For mine sites, it is like getting the in-person service. We survey the plant, collect the data and analyse it – the only difference is we are sending the smart glass package instead of the expert to the site”.
“I believe we’ve developed the package to a stage where even after the COVID-19 restrictions ease many businesses will prefer the Smart Glasses option for site surveying – it’s cheaper, gives the same result and is more convenient.”