Underground mining may have become a bit safer with the completion this March of a mining automation project in Copper Cliff, Ontario. A consortium including Toronto-based nickel producer Inco and equipment manufacturer Sandvik Tamrock launched the project five years ago; its goal was remote control, from the surface, of the machinery essential to hard-rock mining. Success means that for the first time workers would venture underground only to assemble the machinery and, occasionally, for maintenance work. Uninhabited tunnels would be smaller, and miners wouldn’t have to hike a kilometer every morning just to reach equipment-advances that would mean higher productivity.
The machines-outfitted with cameras and radio transmitters-are separated from the surface by hundreds of meters of rock, so they can use an unlimited range of radio frequencies without jamming surface transmissions. Partially unshielded coaxial cables fed into the mine serve as antennas, relaying real-time visual data to operators aboveground, who can control as many as three machines simultaneously with joysticks and foot pedals.
The project’s first successes were a ceiling drill and a front-end loader; the remaining machines, including a truck for hauling ore, will roll out over the next five years.
Forget dating apps: Here’s how the net’s newest matchmakers help you find love
Fed up with apps, people looking for romance are finding inspiration on Twitter, TikTok—and even email newsletters.
How AI is reinventing what computers are
Three key ways artificial intelligence is changing what it means to compute.
These weird virtual creatures evolve their bodies to solve problems
They show how intelligence and body plans are closely linked—and could unlock AI for robots.
We reviewed three at-home covid tests. The results were mixed.
Over-the-counter coronavirus tests are finally available in the US. Some are more accurate and easier to use than others.
Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review
Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.