Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources


Mining Engineering

Committee Chair

Vladislav Kecojevic

Committee Member

Vladislav Kecojevic

Committee Member

Berk Tulu

Committee Member

Gary Winn


Improving the quality of equipment training for the Heavy Equipment Operators (HEO) is a critical task in the ever-lasting effort to improve safety and eliminate equipment-related injuries in mining environments. Traditional miner training includes the use of hardcopy documents and video instructions. However, modern mobile and computer technology offers tremendous potential to improve the training process. One major responsibility for the heavy-machine operators is proper machine inspection. Establishing new training methods that utilize modern technologies—such as 360-degree images, videos, and Virtual Reality—and implementing computers for training purposes have a potential to help new operators learn how to conduct proper machine inspections in a more efficient and technically correct way. This technology could potentially provide a higher knowledge retention rate for heavy machine operators. This study utilizes a 360-degree camera, open-source platform WordPress™, and the software Unity3D in order to create materials and tools for the HEOs training, which in turn will help trainees to better understand the pre-shift machine inspection. The outcomes of this research are organized into three major phases: Gathering materials, Computer-Based Task-Training (CBTT) software, and Virtual Reality (VR) application. The 360-degree images/videos, 2D images, and sounds were first gathered, edited, and incorporated into the CBTT and VR applications. The major feature of the CBTT, developed with WordPress™, is its training template with instructions on creating a new training course for the HEOs. The training courses developed for this study cover seven different machines that are widely used in surface mines. Also, the CBTT software is optimized for use on mobile devices (such as smart-phones and tablets). The VR applications for the same machines are developed with one of the most popular game engines - Unity3D. To interact with the virtual world, a trainee can use the Head-Mounted Display (HMD) iii Oculus Rift CV 1, which establishes full immersion while performing the virtual tour of a selected machine. If used without HMD, applications become non-immersive desktop versions and can be controlled by using a mouse and keyboard. The user-friendly interface and multimedia environment are comfortable to handle, flexible, and potentially more convenient to use than paper-based documents. The CBTT and VR applications were developed, tested, and implemented at a surface coal mine in the southern United States.

Embargo Reason

Publication Pending