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Komatsu and Unearthed unveil four tech innovators to watch out for in 2018

In February 2018, fourteen start-ups comprised of over fifty innovators battled it out at a co-working and technology hub to take part in a mining technology hackathon.

Komatsu: Transform Mining saw the start-ups take part in a 54-hour hackathon event while being given the opportunity to showcase how their technology applies to four major mining challenges.

The entrepreneurs worked closely with Komatsu mentors and personnel from across the business, who offered deep insights into their current operations, technology gaps, implementation, integration, and future vision, with a view to finding the most accelerated path to direct collaboration.

Here are the four winning start-ups to keep an eye on in 2018:

PETRA Data Science Managing Director and Founder Dr Penny Stewart and PETRA Data Scientist Arun Prakash Pillal (whom Penny hired following their introduction at Unearthed Brisbane 2017) took first place for their ShovelVision AI prototypes in response to both the ore characterisation and Ground Engaging Tools (GET) challenges.

“This event has been a brilliant opportunity to apply our skills to multiple unstructured data challenges. We are very excited to have won and have already received 100 photographs of bucket teeth to test our algorithms on. We can’t wait to engage with Komatsu further on our site visit. It only takes us 6-8 weeks to develop an algorithm, so we think that this agility will prove attractive and valuable to Komatsu,” said Stewart.

Team Ad Hoc (members of predictive biometric monitoring start-up Canaria and friends) won second place for their low-tech smoke alert system in response to Komatsu’s bucket tooth wear challenge.

 “It is very rewarding that our multi-disciplinary team won second prize for a completely out of the box wildcard solution that could lead to real viable results for Komatsu,” said Ad Hoc team member and Canaria Co-Founder and CEO Alex Moss.

Third place went to Chilean start-up InDiMin who pitched Smart Mining Coach – a digital personal trainer for operators to increase behavioural productivity.

“We were very impressed, because this means the mining industry is starting to change its mindset and Komatsu is one of the big players. So, having access to people with this great seniority and experience who are providing us feedback to see how we can help them has been such a great experience,” said InDiMin Co-Founder Alvaro Diaz.

a special impromptu award was given out to realtime machine learning actionable insights start-up Modulr Tech for their excellent pitch, for their understanding of the problem and their relentless entrepreneurial spirit.

 “Our experience over the weekend has been absolutely amazing – to be able to meet the international Komatsu executives and have such a positive engagement with them. They were all very open towards collaboration and sharing of ideas and knowledge. We have learned a significant amount and it was thoroughly enjoyable,” said Modulr CEO and Co-Founder Khoi Phan.

In addition to opportunities for the winning teams, Komatsu has already set up follow up meetings and arranged an extra site visit to a limestone quarry for Quantum Geology

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