According to Kitco News, Deloitte’s mining and resource leader, Jürgen Beier, explained that the company is not trying to develop a new business model, rather highlighting how innovation can make a mine more productive and safer.
“We think there is an opportunity to be an enabler to show that the technology can work,” he said.
The technology comprises a small beeper-like communication device with a red and green lit buttons. The device is attached to the bottom front of the helmet and the lights flash when they have a message or warning is sent. The device also has four sensors to detect methane levels, carbon monoxide, diesel fumes and even radiation levels, depending on the mining conditions.
The device can warn a miner of potentially harmful or dangerous situations and the company can communicate directly with miners to better manage them. Each beeper also has a radio-frequency identification (RFID) tag to help locate workers.
“This allows us to manage the mine almost like a battlefield, sending equipment and workers where they are needed the most,” Beier said. “There is a big need in the industry to improve the overall system productivity. This allows us to manage the mine proactively.”
Deloitte developed the specifications for the smart helmet, and partnered with Vandrico and Cortex Designs for the build; Vandrio provided the software and platform that allows managers to track the device in real-time and Cortex manufactured the helmet.
Deloitte expects the market for ‘wearable technology’ (clothing and accessories that incorporate computer and advanced electronic technologies) to grow from an estimated US$3.3 billion to US$8.1 billion by 2018.