‘Digital mine for a digital future’ – by Mary Katherine Keown (Sudbury star – August 19, 2016)


It is part video game, part life-saving training course and all very, very cool (and novel).NORCAT’s new Ferdeno simulation mine, housed at Dynamic Earth, has been dubbed a “digital mine for a digital future” and it definitely seems to be inspired — at least in part — by James Cameron’s futuristic film, Avatar.

Deep in the belly of Dynamic Earth, the new simulation uses gyroscopic technology, with players sitting inside gaming pods, complete with surround sound, and becoming the character on the screen. This is the world’s first interactive and digital underground mine and it provides opportunities for training, development and immersive learning.

“The impetus for Ferdeno is to really demonstrate that the world of training and development has dramatically changed and (being) engaged in immersive learning, we believe, is the way of the future,” Don Duval, NORCAT’s CEO, said Thursday.

Currently, Ferdeno is set up to mimic mine rescue scenarios, allowing participants to strategize ways of staying safe underground. Coincidentally, the 10th International Mines Rescue Competition takes place Aug. 19-26 in Sudbury. The launch of the new mine and its rescue simulation was by design, Duval said, and driven by NORCAT’s partnership with the mine rescue organization.

“The installation we have at Dynamic Earth is the first product within Ferdeno,” Duval said. “The Ontario mine rescue is the simulation experience within Ferdeno that makes up the installation within Dynamic Earth. In the future, there’ll be other scenarios, other stories. A lot of it will be driven by what we hear from the market.”

Ed Wisniewski, NORCAT’s director of software development, said his team designed the simulations over the course of four months.

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