Development of wireless sensor networks for underground communication and monitoring systems (the cases of underground mine environments)
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The challenges of maintaining safe workplaces and improving operations and services in underground mines are unique. These have largely been mitigated by implementing new technology of wireless sensor networks (WSNs) in the last few years. Establishment and development of a reliable monitoring and communication network through such hostile environments are still major concerns. In this study, a more comprehensive monitoring and communication system for underground mine environments using ZigBee network are developed. To this regard, experiments with real systems and prototypes are applied. The controllable and uncontrollable parameters of both underground environment and network for the establishment of ZigBee network are also assessed. Then, a practical method to design a model of an underground mine monitoring and communication system is proposed. This model was verified by testing system functions and applications for example, temperature, humidity and illumination readings, text messaging, and controlling ventilation fans throughout an underground mine in Western Australia. The monitoring and communication systems operated successfully and it demonstrated the reliable outcomes of their function and application for underground mines.
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