ITECH 1100 Understanding The Digital Revolution Assignment Sample

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The potential effect of virtual reality on the coal industry

Part 1:

Virtual reality

VR or Virtual reality refers to computer technology which let an individual feel like as he is at some other place. VR includes software for producing sounds, images and similar sensations for creating a new place which makes users feels that she or he is really at that place. Such created place might be a real place or an imaginary one (Taylor & Barnett, 2011).

ITECH 1100 Understanding The Digital Revolution Assignment

The technology requires special projectors and display screen devices. Even the visual changes with the movement of head of the user and make them fell and view the place from different angels (Jou & Wang, 2012). Haptic feedback is commonly utilized to create a more real feeling, under which special gloves are used for giving the experience that something has been touched in real.

The augmented reality is varied form Virtual reality as the first one is an added version of it for e.g. Pokémon Go is an augmented reality example.

Different kinds of Virtual Reality

  • VR Walkthroughs: This provides a tour of space by utilizing VR headsets or oculus. VR Walkthroughs are utilized for experiences marketing and providing a person an experience of an environment.
  • VR 360 Photos: It provides a user a bird eye view by creating a panorama scene in one image with 360 degree spherical view (Alba, 2014).
  • VR 360 Videos: This permits the user the visual enabling of watching video from any angle. It assists in knowing what and how occurred in story.

Coal Industry

Coal mining means the activities used for extraction of coal from the earth. Since 1880s coal is a valuable source of energy which is globally utilized for generation of electricity. Cement and Steel industries makes use of coal as a fuel for extracting iron ore and iron and for production of cement. In South Africa and UK coal mines along with the structure are colliery, a coal pit and the structure which is above the ground is pit head. As far as Australia is concerned, colliery normally is a term denoting coal mines that are underground. IN USA, Colliery term is utilized for denoting operations of coal mines, however, this term is not commonly used now-a-days (Huang et al, 2015).

During recent years, mining of coal has gone through various developments like men were employed for tunneling and digging after which coal is extracted on carts from long wall mines, and large open cut. At this juncture mining involves use of trucks, draglines, hydraulic jacks, shearers and conveyors.

Majority of coal layers are deep underground which necessitates underground mining (the process is widely applicable in current environment and accounts for sixty percent of the total product of coal worldwide). Under deep mining, pillar and room or pillar or board method process in line with seam, when timber and pillars are kept vertical for providing support to the roof of the mines (Dockx, 2016). When pillar and room mines are established at a stoppage point (restrain by economies, ventilation or geology), a complimentary room version known as retreat mining or second mining, commences.


  1. Build scene of virtual mines – Virtual scene is critical to the system of virtual reality simulation. Hence, not just the surface and terrain field of industry but also the system of transportation and development and ore body is to be displayed. As per the mining process polymetallic and development system ore deposit, the scene of virtual mine should possess terrain mine, ore body, equipment of mining, tunnel, shaft, ramp, adit and similar objects. The impact of virtual environment must provide lively feeling in which users must feel like they are working in real mine (Seu et al, 2018).
  2. Simulation: Technology of virtual reality creates realistic and accurate virtual surroundings, in which response of a user in a situation also impacts the outcome. Under this, miners are required to take decisions regarding any situations by having a group discussion. This way, feedback is provided by system on incorrect or correct responses in the process of assessment. For e.g. Coal Services Ltd. has been utilized an advances Virtual Reality program by using Virtual Reality Platform that includes Curved Screen, Domes and 3D theaters with 360 degree.
  3. Training and Safety: The system of virtual reality offers smart solutions. The main benefit of applying Virtual reality based system of simulation in the process of training is it can be used various number of times without really hurting the workers working in the mines. The system of virtual reality could produce various scene of accident which helps trainer in taking measures at the state of emergency in any adverse situation (Taylor & Barnett, 2011). By addition of sound, videos etc., trainees could have experience of situations in mines, processes and activities to be performed in mines, results coming out of performed processes and activities, and this experience is very low risk and low cost and allows huge level of freedom to trainees. The simulation training through virtual reality is a compulsory part of training about safety in coal mines which is mostly realistic and accurate, thereby providing trainees the exposure of responding in hazardous situations at workplace in controlled and safe manner, prior to real happening of such adverse conditions. In this way, the technology provides superiors quality training which might be lifesaving. Its other benefits include low training related risk in hazardous environment, low interruptions in production, low cost of training, skill development and greater cohesiveness.


Four factors that might affect (training and safety):

  1. Ease to Use:In the market there are various virtual reality headsets. Majority of them makes use of three actors for providing the user the virtual experience i.e. a smartphone, a headphone and a headset. The experience of the user in managing these varied gadgets is bulky and reduces the real potential lies in the virtual reality. Such interaction must be seamless and easy for users.
  2. Aesthetics:  For the mainstream adoption the aesthetics of device is very crucial. The present wearable seems to be bulky among actors, but it is probable that not much importance has been paid to their designs, and even after present in huge size which is considered as modern and sleek. Finding the correct aesthetic would enhance the desirability for the device.
  3. Overload:The cognitive capabilities of human being are limited and infinite. Similarly, the concurrent activities that could be performed are limited. For instance, think of a situation when two friends are having a discussion and one received a text message and he start to respond to it. This way the conversation got disturbed (Jou & Wang, 2012).
  4. Contextual Ethics: Organizations requires to understand and to consider the situations under which virtual reality devices could be used. The perceived comfort by users is impacted by the purpose of the device, which is widely dependent on the social context. For example, in a device testing, if there is challenge to jump. Although the device has no feature to react to the actions of user.

Part 4

VR (Virtual Reality) simulations are one of the excellent ways in the field of education, training, simulation of dangerous and abnormal situations prevailing in coal industry (mines), and help in getting answers of complex problems. Though the virtual reality concept has been there for more than half a century, but the developments in the field of software and hardware in recent past has brought this technology in reach of ordinary researchers and users. Presently, the technology is widely utilized in minerals industry for the purpose of accident reconstruction, data visualization, and analysis of risk, application of simulation, training and hazard awareness (Alba, 2014). Thus, with the use of virtual reality in coal industry , the workers working in the mines gets used to the shaft environment, understands hazardous sources, learns safety behaviors and ultimately realize the specialization in behavior. The virtual reality system includes the simulation for behavior of workers safety in coal industry which provides immense


There are various events in coal industry in which virtual reality technology could enhance safety and efficiency of workforce. Like events of training, extraction of coal, accident situations etc.


It is inclusion of virtual reality in company’s policies and its effectively designing and implementation. The virtual simulation must be close to the real environment in coal industry.


The simulation through virtual reality makes the management aware of the decision points. It necessitates identification of changes required to be made in the present system.


Management, employees, trainers are the actors in the virtual reality in the coal industry.


The expected outcomes are mentioned below-

  • Increase in productivity
  • Improvement in safety
  • Motivated workforce
  • Trained workers.

Impact of the technology

In the traditional safety and training approach with the recorded high number of injuries and fatalities in the coal industry, more specifically those occurred due to falling on ground and amendments in mining legislation are laying more emphasis on enhancing training on safety measures on mining work.

With the regular improvements coming in the standards of training in coal industry there has been much improvement in the safety and performance results. The virtual reality based interactive training has been a newer technology applied for increasing the competencies of workers in a controlled and safe environment which permits testing in the scenarios of extreme events. Similar to other methods of training, training which is based on virtual reality requires to be analyzed for assessing the limitations as well as benefits of this new technology, in comparison to other traditional approaches. The potential of virtual reality simulation has been mentioned by Huang et al. (2015), for the coal industry which is ready to be applied. For example, Dockx (2016) mentioned that, use of training with the aid of virtual reality would lower the number of cases of fatality as well as injuries. He added that there are huge potential lies in the minerals industry with the introduction of virtual reality.


  • Alba, A. (2014). Virtual reality moves past gaming to sell travel destinations, hotels.
  • Bellini, H., Chen, W., Sugiyama, M., Shin, M., Alam, S., & Takayama, D. (2016). Virtual & Augmented Reality: Understanding the race for the next computing platform. 
  • Dockx, K. (2016). “Virtual reality for rehabilitation in Parkinson’s disease”. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews
  • Huang, Y. C., Backman, K. F., Backman, S. J., & Chang, L. L. (2015). Exploring the Implications of Virtual Reality Technology in Tourism Marketing: An Integrated Research Framework. International Journal of Tourism Research.
  • Jou, M. & Wang, J. (2012). Investigation of effects of virtual reality environments on learning performance of technical skills. Computers in Human Behavior
  • Seu; et al. (2018). “Use of gaming and affordable VR technology for the visualization of complex flow fields”. Proceedings of the 6th European Conference on Computational Mechanics (ECCM 6) & 7th European Conference on Computational Fluid Dynamics (ECFD 7), Glasgow, Scotland.
  • Taylor, G. S. & Barnett, J. S. (2011). Training capabilities of wearable and desktop simulator interfaces. DTIC Document.


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