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April 21, 2020

Virtual Reality in the Mining Industry

Virtual reality in mining

It is no exaggeration to say that technology has taken a giant leap forward in the last decade.

In this decade, Uber revolutionized taxi industries around the globe, 4G networks brought fast internet to the masses, and Whatsapp and Instagram appeared on the world stage.

Who do we have to thank for these incredible contributions to daily life? Engineers, of course!

Can you imagine what’s next?

AI, self-driving cars – they’re big buzzwords, but what other engineering innovations could be hiding in plain sight, just waiting for a business plan to set them in motion?

5G is coming! Those with tin hats may be best advised to hide underground. For the rest of us, it’s a progression of data speed that brings with it an unfathomable array of possibilities.

Virtual reality in mining
Generations of Internet and their speeds

The phenomenal speed of 5G will make the work that both humans and machines do more efficient and lead to “smart cities”.

The speed of 5G will also make virtual and augmented reality simulation technologies a physical reality, and there’s some great applications in the mining industry.

Virtual reality in mining
Using augmented reality to process mining data

virtual reality

What’s virtual reality (VR)? It’s just a computer simulated experience. Think video games and flight simulators, and the opportunity to make fun activities part of an engineer’s work!

Augmented reality (AR) overlays virtual objects on the real-world environment. Augmented realities can help engineers can see the inside of a building or bridge construction where, in the real world, a slab has not been poured nor a steel member erected, perhaps to determine what the end product might look like or to monitor construction progress.

Mixed reality (MR) is where the worlds of AR and VR come together. Not just an overlay, MR anchors virtual objects to the real world. Microsoft’s head-mounted Hololens integrates 3D virtual elements and superimposes them into and all around the real world. This is so cool.

Microsoft Hololens in Construction Management

Conclusion

A structural inspection with mixed VR means we could be looking at a built structure (real world) with the original as-designed structure superimposed (virtual world).

That brace that should be there doesn’t stand a chance of being missed, and the structure won’t collapse during the next cyclone season.

What applications do you want VR to address? I’d love to explore the opportunities with you.

What are you already doing in the VR space? Hit me up and let me know.

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