Augmented reality or AR is a technology that blends digital images, virtual objects or video-inputs with the real world to create new user experiences. It allows information from the real world to be displayed on a screen without users needing to remove their head-mounted device, such as a smartphone or tablet. In mining, augmented reality provides an opportunity for companies and engineers to see what’s underground before they dig. Digimine Technologies Ltd., in partnership with the National Research Council Canada, has developed an Augmented Reality navigation system that can show underground areas before construction begins. This system shows where various types of mineral deposits are found under the site prior to any excavation. This article looks at how augmented reality may play a bigger role in mining over the next few years.
How augmented reality works in mining
Augmented reality in mining is an additional layer added to the real world. The technology allows information from the real world to be overlaid on it. This can be used to see and interact with a digital image or object in real life. AR is most commonly used to overlay virtual objects on real-world environments, such as by overlaying computer-generated graphics on top of real-world photos. Such applications include a guide for a potential customer looking at a building, a guide on how to use a machine, or a virtual training guide for a specific job. AR can also be used for navigation and interactive mapping. For example, an engineer can overlay a 3D model of the surrounding terrain to see how things like underground cables or pipelines are laid out. Using sensors, an engineer can also overlay information like the current temperature or the pressure around a machine to help troubleshoot.
Why is augmented reality important in mining?
AR is one of the fastest-growing technology segments in the world. Companies in almost every industry are now investing in AR technology to address customer needs. Mining is no exception. Mining companies are incorporating AR technology to increase efficiency and improve safety. Let’s take a look at how automation, optimization, navigation, and training are becoming more accessible with the use of AR. Automation: With accurate and reliable map data, companies can start to build out full-scale models of their working areas and floors. This allows for more reliable machine planning and less chance of machines colliding with each other. Operators can also see where obstacles, like conduits or machines, are located so they can avoid them. Optimization: AR can help engineers see exactly where their machines work by showing them exactly where the raw materials are. With the ability to overlay 3D models, engineers can plan more effectively and avoid redundant work. Navigation: Map data is crucial for navigation, but it can be difficult to interpret, especially in extremely complex environments like underground mining. AR is a great choice for those scenarios, as it can be used to provide information like the surrounding terrain, ground elevation, and sensor data. Training: New engineers can get the most out of their time when they’re on a training course by being able to see what machinery their instructors are working with. This can also help with training new operators, who can get a sense of what equipment they have access to.
Future of Augmented Reality in Mining
Many experts predict that the future of AR lies in the enterprise sector. Mining-specific AR applications may be a few years off, but the technology will undoubtedly be adopted. The mining market may be little more than a pilot study for the broader use of AR technologies. The mining industry is expected to grow at a CAGR of 9.4% through 2021, fueled by a rise in demand for metals and minerals. The mining market is expected to become more competitive, and in the long run, manufacturers will need to adopt cost-effective and innovative technologies to compete. AR technology could be one of these technologies. The mining market is expected to experience a rise in demand for AR-based solutions. Given the critical nature of mining, it’s no surprise that mining companies are exploring the potential benefits of AR. For example, AR could be used to show where natural resources are located under the ground, or it could be used to help with navigation.
7 advantages of using augmented reality in mining
AR offers an opportunity for companies and engineers to see what’s underground before they dig. It can show where various types of mineral deposits are found under the site prior to any excavation. It can also be used to provide real-time information about the health of equipment. With an accurate model of the surrounding area, engineers can avoid hitting objects like pipes and cables. AR can also be used to show a customer exactly where they would be located in a building. It can be used to guide workers through a process. For example, an engineer can overlay a 3d model of the surrounding terrain to see how things like underground cables or pipelines are laid out.
6 challenges for Augmented Reality in Mining
There are many challenges to overcome before AR can be used in the mining industry. For example, the sensors that are used in the process need to be accurate, reliable, and scalable. Also, the data needs to be accurate, and the cost of ownership of the technology needs to be low. These issues are being addressed, and many companies are looking for ways to use AR for their operations. To overcome these challenges, companies need to find solutions that provide accurate data and cost-effective technology. One example of this is using drones to map out an area. Using drones, companies can map out an area and get data that is more accurate than using sensors on the ground.
While the technology is developing, it’s important for mining companies to understand how it could impact their operations. As with many new technologies, mining-specific applications may be a few years off. But the mining market is expected to become more competitive, and manufacturers will need to adopt cost-effective and innovative technologies to compete. Augmented reality has the potential to transform many industries, and mining is one of the sectors that could benefit the most. This article has provided an overview of how it works and why it’s important to businesses.