Mining Publication: A Technology Review of Smart Sensors with Wireless Networks for Applications in Hazardous Work Environments
Workers in hazardous environments such as mining are constantly exposed to the health and safety hazards of dynamic and unpredictable conditions. One approach to enable them to manage these hazards is to provide them with situational awareness: real-time data (environmental, physiological, and physical location data) obtained from wireless, wearable, smart sensor technologies deployed at the work area. The scope of this approach is limited to managing the hazards of the immediate work area for prevention purposes; it does not include technologies needed after a disaster. Three critical technologies emerge and converge to support this technical approach: smart-wearable sensors, wireless sensor networks, and low-power embedded computing. The major focus of this report is on smart sensors and wireless sensor networks. Wireless networks form the infrastructure to support the realization of situational awareness; therefore, there is a significant focus on wireless networks. Lastly, the "Future Research" section pulls together the three critical technologies by proposing applications that are relevant to mining. The applications are injured miner (person-down) detection; a wireless, wearable remote viewer; and an ultrawide band smart environment that enables localization and tracking of humans and resources. The smart environment could provide location data, physiological data, and communications (video, photos, graphical images, audio, and text messages).