Government Technology

Active RFID Wi-Fi Tags for Mine Safety

June 22, 2007 By

Active Control Technology Inc. is seeking US federal regulatory certification of the second core component of ActiveMine, a two-way voice communications and locating system for mines with a 100% wireless (Wi-Fi) network, the company announced today.

ACT yesterday filed documents with the US Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) for certification of its active RFID Wi-Fi tags, a component of ActiveMine that enables accurate, real-time people and asset tracking.

An application in April for MSHA approval of the system's wireless mesh node modules and battery back-up, which form the backbone of the ActiveMine wireless network, is under review by the agency.

Active Control expects to apply for MSHA approval of ActiveMine's Wi-Fi voice and data communications handsets, plus various ancillary components, within the next four weeks.

"As we near completion of the MSHA filing process, we are well-positioned to help US underground coal mines meet state and federal safety rules fully and on-time," said Steve Barrett, President and CEO, ACT.

MSHA, the federal agency responsible for the health and safety of US miners, is fast-tracking its review of applications for certification of mine safety and communications systems. The agency's mandate includes evaluation and certification of these systems as "intrinsically safe" for areas of underground coal mines where methane gas may be present.

The active RFID tags, which can be carried by people or attached to high-value mobile mining assets, can be tracked continuously within a Wi-Fi coverage area. The technology operates over any standard 802.11 wireless network. In contrast with other tracking systems that require a separate network of hardware readers or gates to determine the location of tags, ActiveMine's RFID tags require no additional network hardware overlay.

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