Making mining ‘wearables’

A team of university students and scientists have won the 2015 Unearthed Melbourne Hackathon for their innovative prototype that incorporates Bluetooth sensors into mining clothing and equipment.

Personal Protective Equipment of Things’ (PPE of Things) design employs off-the-shelf Bluetooth sensors to monitor mining safety clothing and equipment and determine if they are being worn or operated correctly. The prototype is able to send real-time alerts to smartphones if hazardous situations arise.

Minister for Small Business, Innovation and Trade Phillip Dalidakis and Minister for Energy and Resources Lily D’Ambrosio congratulated PPE of Things for their design which increases safety on mining sites in a cost-effective, high-tech manner.

“The Unearthed Melbourne Hackathon is an innovative way to combine bright minds, leading technology and industry experience to come up with solutions to our real-world mining problems,” D’Ambrosio said.

Unearthed is a 54-hour competition that brings teams from around Australia to compete and solve a real-world challenge in the mining and resources industry. The aim of the event is to promote innovation in the sector by combining the skills of software developers, engineers, data scientists, designers, and industry insiders.

Unearthed Melbourne focuses on the Internet of Things, and its application on operations, processes and safety challenges. The Melbourne Hackathon is part of the International Mining and Resources Conference 2015.

 “The Unearthed Melbourne Hackathon highlights the world-leading innovation of our mining equipment, technology and services sector, which is on show at IMARC this week,” D’Ambrosio said.

The Hackathon is organised by Resources Innovation through Information Technology whose aim is to “drive technology innovation to strengthen the local resource sector”.

Dalidakis stated the government is committed to supporting innovation and technological developments. “Growing innovation in technologies and research is key to driving new products and services that will boost the state’s productivity and employment as well as the living standards for all Victorians,” he said.

PPE of Things team members included RMIT Research Fellow Prem Jayaraman and PhD candidates Jonathan Liono and Ali Yavari, and the CSIRO’s Philip Valencia, Andrew Hellicar, Karl Von Richter, and Ahmad El Shoghri.