Moe Momayez, professor of mining and geological engineering, and Mary Poulton, Distinguished Professor of mining and geological engineering, have developed a sensor network to monitor miner health and safety.
Joining Momayez and Poulton on the team that developed the system were Oro Valley technology entrepreneur Sergio Cardona and senior advisers Mark Baker and Lanny M. Brown. The team worked with UA’s Tech Launch Arizona to define and patent the invention, identify and build the startup team, and license the technology through UA startup GUIA -- pronounced “guy-ah” and derived from the Spanish word for “guide.”
The invention is known as the System for Managing Advanced Response Technology, or SMART, Suite 5.0, and features sensors that can detect and report on components of worker health and safety, mine air quality, geolocation asset tracking, communication and ground stabilization detection. 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.
Momayez said accidents and injuries in the mining and construction industries cost billions of dollars a year, so he and his colleagues used off-the-shelf components to create their technology and help keep workers safe.
"It is the canary in the mine with a lot of bells and whistles," Momayez said.