Electronic Cave Simulator Debuts at NSS Convention

Stalactite

Photo by Thomas Bresson

The Speleolympics held at the recent National Speleological Society Convention included a new cave sim. Developed by caver/electrical engineer Dave Jackson of the Southern Colorado Mountain Grotto, the electronic simulator offers a huge improvement over previous cave simulation experiences.

Instead of flagging tape hanging down to represent a caves delicate formations, the cave sim is equipped with electronic sensors throughout that registers to a computer log if anyone touches them. It contains a bat with a sensor that triggers a head lamp is shone on it for more than three seconds, and even a proximity sensor to simulate a formation that is extremely fragile.

At 14 meters (48 feet) long, the wooden structure twists and turns, with the ceiling height as low as 45 centimetres (18 inches) in spots.

During the simulation, each section is outfitted with a computer screen that tells the caver their progress. Upon finishing, they’re given a final reading including their total time.

Already, 600 people have tried the simulator. With a patent on the design, Jackson has plans to sell simulators to other caving organizations to give even more people the chance to experience and learn from the experience.

Colo. engineer builds electronic cave simulator [The Gillette News Record]

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