Experts at global mining-tech company IMDEX are using assisted reality devices to guide Australian and international clients isolated by COVID-19 as they install and use the latest IMDEX products.
Using RealWear’s flagship HMT-1 devices delivered to its mining clients, IMDEX hardware and software engineers and product developers can assist onsite workers from thousands of kilometres away.
IMDEX turned to the solution to circumvent COVID-19 travel restrictions which prevented support personnel being on site.
The RealWear technology is a rugged, head-mounted, voice-controlled, device that offers hands-free operation for frontline workers.
The devices are equipped with a high-definition camera to take pictures and video from the wearer’s perspective, enabling IMDEX experts to guide the worker and provide advice.
Two-way audio with optional noise cancellation and a high-resolution micro-display that sits below line of sight allowing for maximum peripheral vision give workers and IMDEX experts the real-time data they need to operate, inspect, and maintain equipment.
Use of the assisted reality devices emerged after IMDEX grappled with how to support clients in South Africa when sending support teams was not possible because of border closures.
IMDEX Global Equipment Integration Engineer Chris Havenga said the hands-free aspect of the RealWear devices meant they had particular application for underground mining, where operators sometimes had to hold tools and tablets while working above eye level.
“COVID inspired innovation and change at IMDEX to ensure we continued to support our clients,” Mr Havenga said.
“There are endless possibilities with the RealWear device. It’s worth having a device supplied to clients along with our products and tools and if there are any issues, operators can put it on and get the experts to assist for that particular site at the time they are having the problem.
“We can join them remotely while they are working, assess the issues and provide a solution.”
He said they could become a standard inclusion for IMDEX client support, along with manuals and tutorials.
The devices, which offer the same functionality as a tablet, enabled operators to consult manuals and other written material while dealing with on-site issues.
IMDEX is using the devices on sites in South Australia, New Zealand, the United States, and South America.
Realwear Asia Pacific Vice President John Higgs said it was a privilege to support IMDEX in its initiatives.
“HMT-1 devices provide a reality-first, digital-second experience,” he said. “Previously, industrial workers have not been able to use wearables, as they were overly immersive and not rugged enough.
“RealWear is unique in its ability to deliver hands-free connectivity without distracting the worker on a very rugged device capable of being deployed even in explosive environments.”