Recently, due to the mine accidents, world obliged to face dramatic results regarding human lives; in addition, sourced from underground coal mine is developing the natural character of temporary and permanent health problems and complications can come from a variety of employees and long-term injuries occur during operation, which inspired me to design a product.
UNIQUE PROPERTIES / PROJECT DESCRIPTION:
Since worker safety should always come first, mine conditions should not only be checked through environment sensors as in existing techniques. VitaLink is a wearable smart device enables to communicate in cases of emergency such as a decrease in oxygen level of blood, dramatic changes of pulse value and inactivity of miner. Also via VitaLink, every miner can send an emergency call directly to operator. With the data obtained, operator can define the location of miner in order to send rescue.
OPERATION / FLOW / INTERACTION:
The first time I’ve met with my user group was the beginning of user research. To observe closely, I visited the coal mine which is in Zonguldak, Turkey. -300 meters deep, I spent a day with coal miners, which was the most important moment for me and my project; because I had a chance to make interviews with different working groups which work in different working conditions. When I started to work on mock-ups, I regularly tested my mock-ups to see problems and to improve.
PROJECT DURATION AND LOCATION:
It was my graduation project which lasts 5 months. it started in January 2015 in Ankara, Turkey and finished in June 2015, and was exhibited in The Culture and Convention Center of Middle East Technical University in June 2015.
PRODUCTION / REALIZATION TECHNOLOGY:
To realize the project idea, problem definition, field research and user research were made to determine to the useful ideas in the first place, to decide the constraints, objectives and directives are followed in the first place. Secondly, according to COD method it was essential to finalize the ideas. To conclude, Rhinoceros and Keyshot were used to obtain 3D images of the project, and to create possible usage scenarios. 1/1 scale prototype was made with original materials
SPECIFICATIONS / TECHNICAL PROPERTIES:
The dimentions are same with the standart work-glove dimentions.
wearable design, smart glove, coal mine, coal miners, telecommunication, emergency cases
When I examined the control systems and measuring devices used, I have noticed that ensuring the safety of miners and the control of health conditions of them are inadequacy in coal mines, which inspired me to design a product. Besides the existent ones, Vitalink is a wearable smart device providing overall system control by transferring personal health information collected from each of employees, which is an advantage to quick response. During project, several mock-ups were made to refine the concept, and were tested with the focus group in terms of ergonomics and user interface. Since the target group range is so wide, one of the main aim was to create a user interface which is easy to understand and to use. Another important issue was feedback system. The main aspect about mine environment is darkness. It is dark, wet and sounds get blurry because of echo. Therefore, illuminated visual indicators are used instead of audio ones; also vibration is used to warning. As materials, cast silicone membrane is used for electronic parts, which provides flexibility, and thanks to casting, all electronic components stays together as one piece, which provides convenience for production and assembly.
The focus group includes coal miners who are face workers, overseers, technicians, engineers, rescue crew members and miner operators. They are working in extreme conditions such as 6-8 hours shift in health-endangering environment with insufficient warning systems. High humidity, narrow, dark and slippery working paths are the problematic facts about environment, which creates health problems for workers, and paves the way for mine accidents. Since the equipments are heavy and not properly fit to each miner, they limit the movement ability inside the coal mine.
Since worker safety should always come first, mine conditions should not only be checked through environment sensors as in existing techniques. As a wearable smart device, VitaLink hopes to address to communicate problems in cases of emergency such as a decrease in oxygen level of blood, dramatic changes of pulse value and inactivity of miner. Also via VitaLink, it is aimed that every miner can send an emergency call directly to operator, and with the data obtained, operator can define the location of miner in order to send rescue.
TEAM MEMBERS (1) :