Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Robots and things

Whilst robots with electrickery were proven to not work that well under water today, I've been thinking about other techno trickery that could work in a closed space with explosive gases.

The explosive gas problem maybe relatively easily fixed by making any devices intrinsically safe. That is removing the potential of internal electrical currents and sparks in any device ever coming into contact with the explosive gas mixture. In other words fully and totally sealed. Note there is also an element of reducing induced and static charge potentials along with protection for fault conditions.

So what about flying a drone such as one of these small choppers you can get these days up the barrel of the gun that is this mine? With an IR camera on top? Sure you might make the electrics of a battery powered chopper intrinsically safe, but the static issue will be hard to fix. Ticks a few boxes, won't generate stone-on-stone sparks as it moves. Dunno about the wireless range though. Straight line 2.5Km might be possible, but underground and around bends, probably not.

Another possible thing, what about RFID tags that are all the rage of late. Surely it wouldn't be too hard to incorporate such a tag into the clothing of a miner. And have a protected fixed sensor wiring system throughout the mine. After all the mine must have fixed wiring lighting systems and and extra sensor wire wouldn't take much space. A sensor wire system with redundancy could be cheaply encased in concrete in the walls as the mine is extended, protecting it from blast damage. Once an explosive incident had occurred, rescue services could locate each miner through interrogating the RFID tags and know where to concentrate rescue resources. Might even be able to incorporate some real-time bio functionality/information. Should be real easy in this modern age.

Food for thought, whilst we all await a miracle.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

what about just drilling a 1m wide hole right over the expected point of accumulation of gaseous matter, creating a ventilation duct for its excape. In order to minimise the potential of explosions on breakthrough, perhaps a series of smaller leak holes could be drilled and right at the time of final penetration combust any remnant gas build up by electrically sparking the chamber.