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Minelab Augmented Reality Detector And Maybe Drone/remote Based Detecting In The Works? (not A Joke)


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https://patents.google.com/patent/WO2021016649A1/en?assignee=minelab&scholar&oq=minelab&sort=new

This is the most out of this world Minelab detector patent I've ever read. There is so much here, some very sci-fi like, I don't even know where to start. My takeaway is they seem to be positioning themselves for a drone based detector eventually (main details in this patent could be easily transferred to a drone based platform - IMU, GPS, magnetometer, heads up display, FPV, remote control, robotic/vehicle mount, etc) . That is 100% a guess. But in the meantime, there is some interesting, novel items in the pipeline that we might actually see on a machine in closer future?

No clue if this is a coin machine or gold machine or if it's something they are actually working on right now or just trying to get control patents on such things for the future which may or may not arrive. One thing is for certain, Minelab is BUSY in the engineering department. A few of the highlights:

  • Heads up display over glasses/head mounted display (aka augmented reality). Settings, target visualization, shading of detected/not detected areas (I asked for this specifically 5 or 6 years ago here, awesome to see it in a patent now). Plus a camera showing the coil (why would you need that if not operating remotely as from a drone?)
  • The detector has a camera, IMU (accelerometer) and magnetometer to determine position with accuracy.
  • The IMU tracks the position of the coil in real time in relation to both the ground and the target, and combined with the camera video feed will provide a "visual" of the target in the ground through the glasses/head display, as in form of a heat map which increases accuracy with each pass of a coil over the target. A GPS tracks the machine position to properly map the IMU/coil visual target data on the ground and let's a user see the mapping as they detect. This data is recorded for future historical use and can be shared. 
  • Centimeter accuracy with the visual target heat mapping.
  • Potential operators/users include entities other than humans such as "robots" and "an AI (artificial intelligence) using a metal detector" and this line: "The metal detector may be handheld, mounted on a robotic arm of a vehicle or a robot." 
  • Wireless connectivity to computers and phones, transfer of files containing settings configurations from instructors or expert users
  • Remote control of the metal detector through apps on laptops or phones
  • Ability to upload maps, including detecting data, historic human activity, buildings, or other items that seem to indicate custom mapping capability
  • Internet connectivity, potential control through the internet (again, why if not for a drone type device?)
  • "Teamspeak" to other detecting members in the area wirelessly
  • Visual/spatial discrimination
  • Accurate depth measurement
  • Synthesized audio mode, eliminating noise completely and allowing the detector to "recreate" a synthetic audio stream based on data from prior swings
  • Delayed audio processing (enhanced audio) mode or real time audio mode, ability to seperate multiple close targets, reason for this I venture a guess why below --->

This patent actually seems to be describing a completely new method of RX in a detector. Which is actually similar in some ways to the wacky idea I had years ago of reducing EMI/ground noise by emulating a radio telescope array. But in this case they appear to be describing a fairly ingenuous method of doing something similar with only one coil by monitoring RX of the same target at different points in the swing (with the IMU tracking these points) and combining all those RX signals. In this way (and this is my guess, the patent doesn't explain this), you can form a sort of comparator, gradiometer, or interferometer to seperate the wheat from the chaff, so to speak. If that's what they are doing, then I find it to be brilliant. If not, then I just gave them one hell of an idea to patent for the future. :laugh:

That probably sounds like jibberish to non-engineers. But I want people to understand the brilliance in simple terms. Consider this: EMI is random. At any given point in your swing you'll get noise here, but not there. So if you compare two points in the same swing, you will hear noise one point but not the other point because the "zap" already ended. But you might hear a good target at both points in the swing since it's not random like EMI, it's always there in the ground. So, you can effectively eliminate EMI by comparing what signal is not there at two very close points in the swing, and keep the target since it's always there.

Similarly, with ground, the ground changes as the alluvium changes since soil is inhomogeneous. But a target is still the target. So, a similar method can be applied to the ground.

In theory, you could use ideas like this to essentially get rid of the Difficult type timings and keep your gains boosted high, and deal with EMI/ground in this way instead which does not require reducing sensitivity. A totally new, novel approach to RX in a metal detector. The audio processing is very slightly delayed because they are using that time to compare measurements at a few different coil positions before letting the audio processor signal that there is a target present. That's my guess. If that isn't what they are doing, then someone else should patent that and thank me for it later when Minelab buys it. Either way, they have something totally new in the RX department here. And the future of detecting looks bright and interesting to me still.

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How far will the electric drive and metal bit have to be above the coil?????

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Damn Jason!  This is definitely above my pay grade.  I will wait for the reviews 🤣🤣🤣

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Sounds like it could have military counter-mine applications as well.

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Minelab is smart about coming up with ideas and patenting them well in advance, even for stuff they may never do. It costs a lot of money, but it does act to block the competition. White's wanted wireless data exchange for the V3 series, but Minelab saw far enough ahead to have patented that already, so they shut White's down on it. A lot of this looks like a basket full of ideas that Minelab can now claim as theirs only. What comes of any of it, who knows. Remote detecting on Mars? Might be a genuine application.

https://www.detectorprospector.com/forums/topic/15738-gold-on-mars/

Heads up display with all previous mapped finds overplayed on your field of vision, how cool would that be for gold prospecting? A map overlay showing fault lines just by looking around? Could be amazing.

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If anyone already has a hobbyist drone you can get a jump on things - minus the detector - by mounting a FLIR camera. Or, there is the option to just buy an already equipped drone - DJI and a few other brands sell these.  

This makes it remarkably easy to find adits to mines and cave entrances as they stand out like dark blobs due to air temperature variance on hot days - it works best if you have a really good day-->night temperature swing. Finding undocumented mines sometimes will put you on top of gold. 🚁

https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1742-6596/1368/3/032032/pdf

https://www.flir-direct.com/product/flir-436-0020-00-vue-pro-r-radiometric-thermal-camera-with-9-mm-lens-for-drones

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This is a very cheap IR camera I found even cheaper on sale and decided I needed to figure out how to use thermal imagery in prospecting somehow, in mostly as yet to be determined ways. :laugh:

It wouldn't be good for a drone since no remote control, but it's an inexpensive intro thermal camera to learn with for anyone looking to dabble.

image.png.9429d9c40fd27aa5fcc4797c9d9dc45a.png

You can see it's sensitive enough to see the heat left behind by my foot on the floor after I lifted my foot.

The main experiment I want to try this summer is to look for large nephrite jade boulders buried in alluvium. Theory being the jade boulders retain heat longer than the soil. Or maybe vice versa depending on material and water content of the ground. Hoping a large boulder buried just out of sight will leave a subtle heat signature at the top of the ground such as you can see with the faint heat left behind by my foot.

 

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Steve, you and I should get one of these remote control GPX 6000AT’s for our gimpy days, my knees and your hip will appreciate the break from walking! 🤣

https://www.ebay.com/itm/X4-Rover-Remote-Control-Metal-Detector-/372665708578?_trksid=p2349624.m46890.l49286

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