Ryerson University professor Xavier Fernando has developed highly reliable underground wireless communications systems that can ensure miners' safety before and after disasters. "Ever since the United States passed the MINER [Mine Improvement and New Emergency Response] Act of 2006, there has been much more interest in the area of underground communications," Fernando says.
Fernando devised a method for transmitting radio signals over optical fibers. The technology, called ROF, provides the necessary bandwidth to handle underground signals. ROF technology can help identify miners and continuously monitor their movements, making it easier to locate them in the event of a collapse. ROF technology generates distorted signals because the communication lines are non-linear, but Fernando has developed an algorithm that compensates for the distortion. Fernando also is working to enhance through-the-earth signaling, which uses ultra-low frequencies that can penetrate water and rock.
"With this technology, officials could still maintain communication with a miner who is trapped and is likely covered by dirt and rocks," he says.
From Ryerson University
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