SmartCap manages fatigue at mine sites

Drivers of trucks, dozers, graders and excavators will soon be wearing a new ‘SmartCap’ which detects their level of fatigue.

Fatigue related incidents on mine sites are a major cause of injuries and deaths, and cost the industry hundreds of millions of dollars in lost production and accidents each year.

Invented by Dr Daniel Bongers at the Cooperative Research Centre for Mining (CRCMining), the cap is fitted with sophisticated sensors with the ability to read the brain’s neural activity and detect the level of fatigue in the wearer. Fatigue levels are recorded on a display in the cabin of the vehicle, and can be relayed back to a base station.

The SmartCap System has won a CRC Association Award for Excellence in Innovation for CRCMining.  It will be presented at the Association’s Annual Conference on Wednesday 18 May in Brisbane.

The cap looks and feels like a typical baseball cap but is fitted with sensors uniquely capable of reading neural signals through hair.  A detachable lightweight processing card fits under the brim.

The invention was the result of collaboration between mining companies, fatigue and sleep experts and mining industry funding bodies.  CRCMining used its unique position to bring these research parties together.

Global mining operations represent a market for 9,700 SmartCaps, with the potential expanding to 1.2 million heavy trucks.

CRCMining CEO Professor Mike Hood says that the System could in time be fitted to normal cars.

“The many advantages of the SmartCap include the fact that it is lightweight, mobile and highly accurate at detecting fatigue in drivers,” he says.  “This means the technology is easily adaptable to a passenger car environment.”

The Award will be presented by Professor Margaret Sheil, CEO of the Australian Research Council, at the Annual Conference of the CRC Association.  The Awards Dinner is on Wednesday 18 May at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Further information/interview

Andrew Long
Communication Manager, CRCMining
0421 084 735