Toward Open-Source Hardware and Software for the Mining Industry: a Case Study of Low-Cost Environmental Monitoring System for Non-Metallic Underground Mines

  • Mokhinabonu Mardonova
  • Yosoon ChoiEmail author


Open-source technology for supporting the Industry 4.0 has become the target of academic research in many sectors. This study reviewed the trends of open-source technology, its forms, and some industrial applications. As a case study using open-source hardware and software for the mining industry, this study proposed a low-cost environmental monitoring system for non-metallic underground mines to support mine safety and occupational health issues. The system was developed using open-source hardware, Arduino and 3D printer, to design the monitoring device. An open-source software, MIT App Inventor, was used for developing an Android application for smartphones to enable remote communication with the system. Field experiments were conducted at an underground tunnel and a non-metallic underground mining site to assess the performance of the system in both mobile and static modes, respectively. Although a few limitations related to the precision of the low-cost dust and gas sensors still exist, the findings of the experiments show that the mining industry can benefit from open-source technology deployment when considering cost factors.


Open-source hardware Open-source software Industry 4.0 Environmental monitoring Mining 



Air Quality Index


Bluetooth low energy


Geographic Information Systems


Global Positioning System


Global Village Construction Set


Integrated Development Environment


International Electrotechnical Commission


Internet of Things


Joint Information Systems Committee


Mine Safety and Health Administration


National Aeronautics and Space Administration


operating system


Open Source Ecology


open-source hardware


open-source software




radio frequency identification


Author Contributions

Y.C. conceived and designed the experiments; M.M. performed the experiments; M.M. and Y.C. analyzed the data; Y.C. contributed reagents/materials/analysis tools; M.M. and Y.C. wrote the paper.

Funding Information

This work was supported by Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Education (2018R1D1A1A09083947).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


  1. 1.
    Rúnarsson S (2016) Open source hardware and software alternative to industrial PLC. Dissertation,University college of Southeast NorwayGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Jose M (2010) 11 biggest open source success stories that are changing the world as we know it. TECH DRIVE-IN. Accessed 27 Nov 2018
  3. 3.
    Werner T (2011) Open source (almost) everything. Tom Preston-Werner. Accessed 27 Nov 2018
  4. 4.
    Hars A (2001) Working for free ? – motivations of participating in open source projects. Proceedings of the 34th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences 00:1–9 .
  5. 5.
    Spinellis D, Giannikas V (2012) Organizational adoption of open source software. J Syst Softw 85:666–682. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Shi W, Li LL (2009) Multi-parameter monitoring system for coal mine based on wireless sensor network technology. ICIMA 2009:225–227. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Jo BW, Muhammad R, Khan A (2017) An event reporting and early-warning safety system based on the internet of things for underground coal mines: a case study. Appl Sci 7(925).
  8. 8.
    Free Software Foundation, Inc (2017) GNU Operating System. Accessed 25 Apr 2019
  9. 9.
    Open Source Hardware Association (2019) Definition (English) – Open Source Hardware Association. Accessed 27 Nov 2018
  10. 10.
    Boldyreff C, Lavery J, Nutter D, Rank S (2003) Open-source development processes and tools. ICSE 03:15–18Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Lakhan S, Jhunjhunwala K (2008) Open source software in education. EDUCAUSE. Accessed 27 Nov 2018
  12. 12.
    Morrison J, Dede C (2004) The future of learning technologies: an interview with Chris Dede. Innov : J Online Educ 1:1–7Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Joint Information Systems Committee (2013) e-learning. Jisc. Accessed 27 Nov 2018
  14. 14.
    Wright N, Malcolm W (2010) e-Learning and implications for New Zealand schools: a literature review. Education Counts. Accessed 27 Nov 2018
  15. 15.
    Johnson M, Hedditch J, Yin I (2011) ICT in schools 2011. Research New Zealand. Accessed 28 Nov 2018
  16. 16.
    Williams van Rooij S (2011) Higher education sub-cultures and open source adoption. Comput Educ 57:1171–1183CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Education Review Office (2018) Leading innovative learning in New Zealand Schools. Accessed 25 Nov 2018
  18. 18.
    Carmichael P, Honour L (2002) Open source as appropriate technology for global education. Int J Educ Dev 22:47–53. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Hopkins MA, Kibbe AM (2014) Open-source hardware in controls education. Comput Educ J 5:62–70Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Reguera P, García D, Domínguez M, Prada MA, Alonso S (2015) A low-cost open source hardware in control education. Case study: Arduino-feedback Ms-150. IFAC-PapersOnLine 48:117–122CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Schelly C, Anzalone G, Wijnen B, Pearce JM (2015) Open-source 3-D printing technologies for education: bringing additive manufacturing to the classroom. J Vis Lang Comput 28:226–237. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Watkins D (2016) Open gardening tools for growing green thumbs and a healthier planet. Accessed 27 Nov 2018
  23. 23.
    Potter B (2016) What open-source software could mean for agriculture. Accessed 27 Nov 2018
  24. 24.
    Watkins D (2015) Open food network tending alternative food systems all over the world.| Accessed 27 Nov 2018
  25. 25.
    Athani S, Tejeshwar CH, Patil MM, Patil P, Kulkarni R (2017) Soil moisture monitoring using IoT enabled arduino sensors with neural networks for improving soil management for farmers and predict seasonal rainfall for planning future harvest in North Karnataka-India. I-SMAC.
  26. 26.
    Bitella G, Rossi R, Bochicchio R, Perniola M, Amato M (2014) A novel low-cost open-hardware platform for monitoring soil water content and multiple soil-air-vegetation parameters. Sensors (Switzerland) 14:19639–19659. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Patil A, Beldar M, Naik A, Deshpande S (2016) Smart farming using Arduino and data mining. INDIACom 2016:1913–1917Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Mesas-Carrascosa FJ, Verdú Santano D, Meroño JE, Sánchez de la Orden M, García-Ferrer A (2015) Open source hardware to monitor environmental parameters in precision agriculture. Biosyst Eng 137:73–83. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Wishkerman A, Wishkerman E (2017) Application note: a novel low-cost open-source LED system for microalgae cultivation. Comput Electron Agric 132:56–62. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    FarmBot (2018) Open-source CNC farming. Accessed 27 Nov 2018
  31. 31.
    Ferdoush S, Li X (2014) ScienceDirect wireless sensor network system design using raspberry pi and Arduino for environmental monitoring applications. Procedia Computer Science 34:103–110. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Open Source Ecology (2018) The mission of Open Source Ecology (OSE) is to create the open source economy. Accessed 27 Nov 2018
  33. 33.
    Song J, Choi Y, Jang M, Yoon S (2014) A comparison of wind power and photovoltaic potentials at Yeongok , Mulno and Booyoung abandoned mines in Kangwon Province , Korea. J Korean Soc Miner Energy Resour Eng 51:525–536. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Lockridge G, Dzwonkowski B, Nelson R, Powers S (2016) Development of a low-cost arduino-based sonde for coastal applications. Sensors (Switzerland) 16(1–16). CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Jo B, Baloch Z (2017) Internet of things-based arduino intelligent monitoring and cluster analysis of seasonal variation in physicochemical parameters of Jungnangcheon, an urban stream. Water (Switzerland) 9.
  36. 36.
    Steiniger S, Hay GJ (2009) Free and open source geographic information tools for landscape ecology. Eco Inform 4:183–195. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    Churilo C (2018) Why open source works for the renewable energy sector. Accessed 27 Nov 2018
  38. 38.
    Bauer S (2018) Energy controls platform available in open source. Accessed 27 Nov 2018
  39. 39.
    Fuentes M, Vivar M, Burgos JM, Aguilera J, Vacas JA (2014) Design of an accurate, low-cost autonomous data logger for PV system monitoring using Arduino™ that complies with IEC standards. Sol Energy Mater Sol Cells 130:529–543. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    Gad HE, Gad HE (2015) Development of a new temperature data acquisition system for solar energy applications. Renew Energy 74:337–343. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. 41.
    Fisher DK, Gould PJ (2012) Open-source hardware is a low-cost alternative for scientific instrumentation and research. Modern Instrumentation 01:8–20. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. 42.
    Zachariadou K, Yiasemides K, Trougkakos N (2012) A low-cost computer-controlled Arduino-based educational laboratory system for teaching the fundamentals of photovoltaic cells. Eur J Phys 33:1599–1610. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. 43.
    Weeks J (2011) Health hazards of mining and quarrying. International Labour Organization. Accessed 27 Nov 2018
  44. 44.
    Donoghue AM (2004) Occupational health hazards in mining: an overview. Occup Med 54:283–289. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. 45.
    OneGeology (2017) OneGeology - what’s it all about? Accessed 25 Apr 2019
  46. 46.
    Jessell M (2019) Uncertainty in 3D modelling and inversion. Accessed 25 Apr 2019
  47. 47.
    Mader D, Schenk B (2017) Using free/libre and open source software in the geological sciences. Aust J Earth Sci 110:142–161. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. 48.
    Apache Software Foundation (2017) open climate workbench. Accessed 25 Apr 2019
  49. 49.
    Terranum Geosciences and software solutions (2017) ToolMap. Accessed 25 Apr 2019
  50. 50.
    Du G, Sun C (2015) Determinants of electricity demand in nonmetallic mineral products industry: evidence from a comparative study of Japan and China. Sustainability (Switzerland) 7:7112–7136. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. 51.
    Environmental Protection Agency US (1995) Profile of the non-fuel, non-metal mining industry. EPA, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
  52. 52.
    Hendryx M (2015) The public health impacts of surface coal mining. Ext Ind Soc 2:820–826. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. 53.
    European Commission (2019) The Industrial Emissions Directive. Accessed 25 Apr 2019
  54. 54.
    Minerals Council South Africa (2018) Facts and figures 2017- minerals council South Africa. Accessed 27 Nov 2018
  55. 55.
    Upgupta S, Singh PK (2017) Impacts of coal mining: a review of methods and parameters used in India. Curr World Environ 12:142–156. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. 56.
    Haas EJ, Willmer D, Cecala AB (2016) Formative research to reduce mine worker respirable silica dust exposure: a feasibility study to integrate technology into behavioral interventions. Pilot and feasibility studies 2.
  57. 57.
    Occupational Safety and Health Administration (2018) Safety and Health Topics | Respirable Crystalline Silica - Health Effects . Accessed 25 Apr 2019
  58. 58.
    Fernández-Navarro P, García-Pérez J, Ramis R, Boldo E, López-Abente G (2012) Proximity to mining industry and cancer mortality. Sci Total Environ 435–436:66–73. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. 59.
    Thimons ED, Vinson RP, Kissell FN (1979) Forecasting methane hazards in metal and nonmetal mines. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Accessed 25 Sep 2018
  60. 60.
    Birch ME, Cary RA (1996) Elemental carbon-based method for monitoring occupational exposures to particulate diesel exhaust. Aerosol Sci Technol 25:221–241. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. 61.
    Singh AK, Singh RVK, Singh MP, Chandra H, Shukla NK (2007) Mine fire gas indices and their application to Indian underground coal mine fires. Int J Coal Geol 69:192–204. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. 62.
    BABUT GB, MORARU RI, BABUT MC (2010) Underground Air pollution in metal mines: new control method and case study in two Romanian mines from Baia Mare Ore Basin. SGEM2010 2:301–308Google Scholar
  63. 63.
    Wu HW, Gillies ADS, Volkwein JD, Noll J Real-Time DPM Ambient Monitoring in Underground Mines 1–10Google Scholar
  64. 64.
    Perples Inc (2015) General terms. Accessed 25 Apr 2019
  65. 65.
    Baek J, Choi Y, Lee C, Suh J, Lee S (2017) BBUNS: Bluetooth beacon-based underground navigation system to support mine haulage operations. Minerals 7:228. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. 66.
    Jung J, Choi Y (2016) Measuring transport time of mine equipment in an underground mine using a Bluetooth beacon system. Minerals 7(1). MathSciNetCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. 67.
    SparkFun Electronics (2017) What is an Arduino? Accessed 25 Apr 2019
  68. 68.
    Mukherjee A, Stanton LG, Graham AR, Roberts PT (2017) Assessing the utility of low-cost particulate matter sensors over a 12-week period in the Cuyama valley of California. Sensors (Switzerland) 17. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. 69.
    Austin E, Novosselov I, Seto E, Yost MG (2015) Laboratory evaluation of the Shinyei PPD42NS low-cost particulate matter sensor. PLoS One 10:e0137789. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. 70.
    Tittarelli A, Borgini A, Bertoldi M, De Saeger E, Ruprecht A, Stefanoni R, Tagliabue G, Contiero P, Crosignani P (2008) Estimation of particle mass concentration in ambient air using a particle counter. Atmos Environ 42:8543–8548. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. 71.
    Ultimaker BV (2017) How to install Ultimaker Cura 3.0 software. Accessed 27 Nov 2018
  72. 72.
    Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (2015) FormersFarm 3D printer SPROUT dual,single nozzle. Accessed 27 Nov 2018
  73. 73.
    Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2017) About Us | Explore MIT App Inventor. Accessed 27 Nov 2018
  74. 74.
    U.S. Environmental Protection Egency (2017) International Air Quality Accessed 27 Nov 2018
  75. 75.
    Lee C, Kim J, Kim JD, Jeon SW, Kim SJ, Cheong MC, Lim GJ, Cheong YW (2014) Mine environmental engineering. CIR, SeoulGoogle Scholar
  76. 76.
    Baek J, Choi Y (2018) Bluetooth - beacon - based underground proximity warning system for preventing collisions inside tunnels. applied sciences. 1–11Google Scholar
  77. 77.
    Baek J, Suh J, Choi Y (2018) Analysis of received signal strength index from Bluetooth beacons to develop proximity warning systems for underground mines. J Korean Soc Miner Energy Resour Eng 55(6):604–613CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. 78.
    Kanomax USA, Inc. (2017) DIGITAL DUST MONITOR MODEL 3443. Accessed 25 Apr 2019
  79. 79.
    Honeywell international (2017) GasAlertMax XT II– Honeywell analytics. Accessed 25 Apr 2019
  80. 80.
    Fresh Air Solutions B.V (2017) Dylos fijnstofmeters ¦ Links. Accessed 27 Nov 2018
  81. 81.
    MechaSolution (2018) Accessed 25 Apr 2019
  82. 82.
    U.S. Department of the Interior (2018) USGS MODFLOW and Related Programs. Accessed 27 Nov 2018
  83. 83.
    Hydrologic Engineering Center (2018) HEC-ResSim. Accessed 27 Nov 2018
  84. 84.
    Sinha KN, Singh B (1966) Application of electronics in mining engineering. Proc Indian Div Instit Electron Radio Eng 4:102–108. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  85. 85.
    Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) (2007) Design Criteria for Microprocessor Based Motor Overload Protection Systems. Accessed 27 Nov 2018
  86. 86.
    Huaman MA, Fiske CT, Jones TF, Warkentin J, Shepherd BE, Maruri F, Sterling TR (2015) HHS Public Access 143:951–959. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  87. 87.
    Mardonova M, Choi Y (2018) Review of wearable device technology and its applications to the mining industry. Energies 11:547. CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration Inc. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Energy Resources EngineeringPukyong National UniversityBusanSouth Korea

Personalised recommendations