Big Stone Gap – Mountain Empire Community College will host a lecture by Dr. Robi Stark, CEO of Sensilize, an Israeli-based company using a sensor mounted on an drone. The technology has the potential to revolutionize coal mine reclamation efforts in the Appalachian Mountains.

Stark’s lecture is open to the public and will be held on Thursday, July 28 at 10 a.m. in Dalton Cantrell Hall. Congressman Morgan Griffith will also be present to discuss how drones can be used in land reclamation in the future. Dr. Stark will present his findings on the data collected from a drone flyer-over of reclaimed mine lands in Wise County.

“Mountain Empire Community College is pleased to be partnering with Virginia Tech’s Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership, Sensilize, and Hazon Solutions to commence this innovative and creative study of mine reclamation. Because of the ongoing support of the Appalachian Regional Commission, the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority, and the Wise County Industrial Development Authority, our region will be a leader in unmanned aerial systems applications,” said MECC President Scott Hamilton.

Representatives of Sensilize, Hazon Solutions, and the Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership have been in Wise County this week conducting research and development efforts to enhance coal mine land reclamation by using multispectral sensors to measure the health of vegetation. Sensilize uses an autonomous octocopter outfitted with a sensor called ‘Robin Eye’ to fly over one thousand acres of mined real estate.

Mountain Empire Community College is playing a leading role in unmanned aerial system pilot education in Virginia.

For more information, contact the Mountain Empire Community College Office of Public Relations at 276.523.7480.

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