HACKERS TACKLE MINING CHALLENGES
27 June 2015, Written by Laura Daquino
A SCHOOL of hackers have uncovered solutions for Australia's under pressure resources sector at Unearthed Brisbane.
The event brought together 75 developers, engineers and software designers at River City Labs, who spent 54 hours hacking out technology prototypes for key industry challenges faced by global resources companies.
Participants were presented with five industry challenges from BMA Coal, WesTrac and the Queensland Department of Natural Mines and Resources, to quickly form teams and pitch 17 different prototypes to the mining companies only a couple of days later.
Judges included RedEye Apps co-founder and CEO Wayne Gerrard, who used the Unearthed experience to recruit for his own company as well.
Participants ranged from university level to professional developers, software programmers and engineers already working in the industry. The University of Queensland and Queensland University of Technology sponsored students to attend, recognising the inherent value in skill development.
The winning team (pictured above), receiving a cash prize of $2000 and were later invited to pitch at Austmine 2015. This team addressed the challenge from BMA Coal relating to stockpile monitoring and offered a highly technical solution to potentially save mining companies millions of dollars.
"We first took a statistical approach to the challenge and then decided to throw tags into the data and eventually ended up with Wi-Fi beacons," says winning team member James Brown, who is also the lead programmer at TallyDigital.
Second place scored $1000 in prize money after analysing the challenge from WesTrac relating to big data analysis of oil lab samples. The challenge was to improve the oil analysis process to predict future maintenance events.
The winning team of the Young Innovator Award (pictured right), for teams with members predominantly under the age of 25, devised an energy-saving solution pertinent to coal mining.
The team received a cash prize of $750 and is currently being mentored by QUT professors.
"Our technical solution utilised data collected from ultrasonic sensors and back EMF sensors to reduce up to 25 per cent of the electricity needed to crush coal," says Adrian Lanzafame, who is currently studying a Bachelor of IT, majoring in Computer Science and Geoscience at QUT.
Unearthed will continue its national program with its Sydney hackathon on the final weekend of August held at co-working space Fishburners.
Participants and the public are now being encouraged to apply for the Unearthed Accelerator Program, which runs for six months for successful applications to receive intensive industry mentorship and seed investment of $70,000.