This Drone Safely Detects And Detonates Landmines

Brilliance | Dec. 14, 2017

While you were building LEGO towers, young Afghan inventor Massoud Hassani was creating what would end up being his initial prototypes for land mine detonating drone balls. Not too shabby.

First, Wind-Powered Minesweepers

As a child in Afghanistan, Hassani created and played with wind-powered toys, and those toys became the inspiration for his 2011 graduation project from the Design Academy Eindhoven in the Netherlands: the Mine Kafon wind-powered land mine detector. It was essentially a ball made from bamboo, iron, and plastic that cleared land mines by blowing around in the wind. (Picture a tumbleweed that's actually a high-tech minesweeper.) Why was Hassani so invested in this project? According to The Verge, Hassani grew up in an area of Afghanistan "with some 10 million concentrated [land mines] in an area of around 500 square kilometers."

Hassani and his brother Mahmud got a lot of media attention for their prototype after they started their first Kickstarter campaign for the product in 2012. But as one might imagine, being wind-powered meant the minesweeping ball was difficult to control. Many people suggested adding a remote control feature to improve the design. Keeping the drawbacks of the initial prototype in mind, Hassani kept working towards a solid solution.

Then, Land Mine Detonating Drones

Soon, the new and improved airborne de-mining system was born, and it's a huge deal. Until now, there hasn't been a safe or affordable option for landmine detonation. The cost of removing a landmine can be upwards of 50 times the cost of its production. The Mine Kafon drone easily maps, detects, then detonates land mines 20 times faster than current de-mining technology. Not to mention, it's approximately 200 times cheaper. Hassani's new Mine Kafon drones aim to clear all of the landmines in the world in less than 10 years.

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