Cambrian College in Sudbury is helping a company called NSS Canada make underground mining safer.

NSS has developed an augmented reality system that uses Microsoft’s Hololens 2 to allow miners to work at a safe distance from mines. Cambrian’s Applied Research Division will help design the bracket so that the system can be attached to the miner’s helmet.

A wellhead is usually the end of a drift or horizontal tunnel where miners prepare to detonate. They drill holes in rock walls and insert explosives.

Although Ontario’s mine safety has improved significantly, the mine face remains one of the most dangerous places for miners.

“Underground mining sites are one of the most dangerous places because they have to adapt to open spaces and they put a lot of stress on them. There is a risk of injury or death,” said Matthew Brown, General Manager of NSS Canada.

The company’s augmented reality system allows miners to gauge where explosives should be placed from a safe distance. And you can do the job in less than 10 minutes instead of an hour.

However, when they developed the system, they ran into one problem. There was no way to safely attach it to a helmet designed for underground mining.

A custom-made bracket is required to attach the system to a helmet, but it also meets the stringent safety requirements of underground mining in Ontario and other jurisdictions.

“We looked at the highs and lows and decided that this was something we couldn’t buy and we couldn’t develop in-house on our own,” Brown said.

“We don’t have the equipment or the technical know-how. So we contacted Cambrian.”

A man in a blue helmet and orange coveralls is in the basement.
Mike Comito, director of applied research and innovation at Cambrian College, said the school makes it a top priority for students to participate in research and development projects. (Jonathan Minnow/CBC)

Mike Commito, Cambrian’s director of applied research and innovation, said it has provided NSS Canada with access to students and professionals who can help design a bracket that meets all safety requirements.

Komito said it’s important to involve students so they can gain real-world experience.

“This is a real problem that the NSS has identified,” he said.

“So if we can help students overcome that challenge and ultimately find a solution, that’s great for NSS because it helps us achieve our innovation goals. can be obtained.”

Cambrian College Mechatronics and Engineering Technology student Matteo Neville was one of the students brought on board to help design the bracket.

“I have some experience with freeform modeling,” he said. “So they thought this project would be a good fit for me.”

Neville said he hopes to focus on research and development after graduation.

“There’s always something new to play and something to experience,” he said.

“And I really like new technology, so it’s really cool to see new technology and be able to work on it.”

The project to design custom-made brackets will start in September. Cambrian says the first prototype will be ready in two months after his.


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