IoT sensors to improve mine safety

GUIA, a start-up from the University of Arizona, US, has licensed a new mining communication and sensor platform – the SMART Suite 5.0
IoT sensors to improve mine safety IoT sensors to improve mine safety IoT sensors to improve mine safety IoT sensors to improve mine safety IoT sensors to improve mine safety

Automated drill used in an Alaskan underground gold mine. Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Dylan McFarlane

Staff reporter

PRESS RELEASE: Developed by faculty in the UA’s College of Engineering and Lowell Institute for Mineral Resources, the technology features sensors that can detect and report on components of worker health and safety, mine air quality, geolocation asset tracking, communication and ground stabilisation detection.

SMART, which stands for System for Managing Advanced Response Technology, is designed for mine-wide distributed sensing, monitoring and real-time communication across all mining operations. At the core of the system is the ability to sense a miner's location and body temperature, predict potential problems and recommend steps to avert health risks.

The inventing team includes Moe Momayez, UA associate professor of mines and metallurgy; co-founder Mary Poulton, distinguished professor emerita of mining and geological engineering, and co-chairman of the board of directors of the Lowell Institute for Mineral Resources; and Oro Valley technology entrepreneur Sergio Cardona.

The team worked with Tech Launch Arizona, the office of the UA that commercialises inventions stemming from research, to define and patent the invention, identify and build the start-up team, and license the technology. Through its Asset Development Program, TLA also provided funding to prepare the early-stage invention for the marketplace.

According to the university, SMART Suite 5.0 is the first unified, comprehensive, internet-of-things platform technology to integrate mine safety, miner health monitoring and asset tracking.

Momayez stated that the total direct and indirect cost of a single work site accident in the mining and construction industries can be devastating, with a possible economic impact of over US$5 million per incident. This includes expenses such as basic financial costs, human costs (including rehabilitation, death benefits, bodily injury indemnities and income replacement) and a significant, potentially crippling loss of productivity.

“GUIA is the only company on the market addressing this serious issue by offering a single, integrated technology,” Momayez noted.