Drones

Mine-hunting drone could make the world a safer place

Mine-hunting drone could make ...
Massoud Hassani inspects one of the Mine Kafon Drone prototypes
Massoud Hassani inspects one of the Mine Kafon Drone prototypes
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The Mine Kafon Drone starts by mapping the minefield
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The Mine Kafon Drone starts by mapping the minefield
The Mine Kafon Drone, equipped with a metal detector
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The Mine Kafon Drone, equipped with a metal detector
Massoud Hassani inspects one of the Mine Kafon Drone prototypes
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Massoud Hassani inspects one of the Mine Kafon Drone prototypes
The Mine Kafon Drone starts by mapping the minefield
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The Mine Kafon Drone starts by mapping the minefield
The Mine Kafon Drone, equipped with a metal detector
5/6
The Mine Kafon Drone, equipped with a metal detector
Massoud Hassani inspects one of the Mine Kafon Drone prototypes
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Massoud Hassani inspects one of the Mine Kafon Drone prototypes

Designer and entrepreneur Massoud Hassani hopes to rid the planet of its estimated 100 million buried land mines within 10 years. That's why several years ago, he developed the Mine Kafon – a device that rolls across minefields like a tumbleweed, tripping mines as it goes. While it's a clever idea, he still wanted something that works faster. To that end, he is now developing the Mine Kafon Drone.

Currently in working prototype form, the drone takes the form of a custom-made multicopter that can be equipped with different tools. It's designed to seek and destroy mines in a three-step process.

First, equipped with a camera, it flies over the minefield in a grid pattern to create a 3D map of the area. Next, it goes back over with a metal detector hanging beneath it. Located 4 cm (1.6 in) above the ground, that device detects where the mines are buried. Their locations are noted on the map, in the form of GPS waypoints.

Finally, with a gripper swapped in place of the metal detector, the drone returns to the mines and deposits explosives on them, which are then remotely detonated.

The Mine Kafon Drone, equipped with a metal detector
The Mine Kafon Drone, equipped with a metal detector

Ultimately, Hassani would like to see the whole system be autonomous. He estimates that once it's up and running, it should be 20 times faster and far less expensive than traditional methods such as human or canine crews. Of course, it would also be safer.

If you're interested in helping support development of the Mine Kafon Drone, it's currently the subject of a Kickstarter campaign.

Sources: Mine Kafon, Kickstarter

Designer and entrepreneur Massoud Hassani hopes to rid the planet of its estimated 100 million buried land mines within 10 years. That's why several years ago, he developed the Mine Kafon – a device that rolls across minefields like a tumbleweed, tripping mines as it goes. While it's a clever idea, he still wanted something that works faster. To that end, he is now developing the Mine Kafon Drone.

Currently in working prototype form, the drone takes the form of a custom-made multicopter that can be equipped with different tools. It's designed to seek and destroy mines in a three-step process.

First, equipped with a camera, it flies over the minefield in a grid pattern to create a 3D map of the area. Next, it goes back over with a metal detector hanging beneath it. Located 4 cm (1.6 in) above the ground, that device detects where the mines are buried. Their locations are noted on the map, in the form of GPS waypoints.

Finally, with a gripper swapped in place of the metal detector, the drone returns to the mines and deposits explosives on them, which are then remotely detonated.

The Mine Kafon Drone, equipped with a metal detector
The Mine Kafon Drone, equipped with a metal detector

Ultimately, Hassani would like to see the whole system be autonomous. He estimates that once it's up and running, it should be 20 times faster and far less expensive than traditional methods such as human or canine crews. Of course, it would also be safer.

If you're interested in helping support development of the Mine Kafon Drone, it's currently the subject of a Kickstarter campaign.

Sources: Mine Kafon, Kickstarter

7 comments
Calson
Unfortunately the US government and that of the Israeli's is still planting millions of land mines and then there are the millions of cluster bombs left behind by these governments military as well and which will continue to maim and kill children for yet another 50 years.
Milton
I've spoken with Bill at the Land Mine Museum in Cambodia. It's an amazing museum, and if you hang around the lobby long enough you might get a guided tour from Bill himself. One thing Bill pointed out was that when you clear a field, you need to clear it 100%. In order to do that you need proper training and planning. In all the years he has had his team clearing land-mines, his track-record is perfect. 100%. Given the relative death of landmine use (BTW: The US does NOT plant landmines, not sure what Calson is talking about). It is entirely feasible to clear existing land-mines the old-fashion-way. And Bill's main argument against drone use was that spending millions to develop them is silly when you consider how a million dollars would go solving it the old-fashioned (and proven) way. In that sense I agree with Bill. If land-mine use is a dead tactic (which, according to him, it is nearly dead), then developing technology to rid the world of a dead tactic seems silly. But at the same time, if you do develop the technology, then that would only further the case for keeping landmine use dead. So I'm conflicted as to which is better... spending millions on tech, or spending millions on old-school methods to eliminate all of the old mines (Bill seemed to think it would take 2-million). Remember, in countries like Cambodia, a well-paid land-mine remover doesn't cost very much (and provides a skilled labor job).
Wolf0579
Keep working on this.. I suspect there could be a Nobel Prize involved.
ljaques
Excellent. I'm sure the additional tech would be welcomed by afflicted countries and mine clearance agencies. Humans, rats, robots, and now drones can now all clear or mark mines for clearance. Every little bit helps.
Future3000
Wet Kickstarter dreams of a hyped Kid! 98% of all military mines and a lot of clusterbombs are undedectable by metal detectors because made of plastic. In 2000 we tested a new kind of microwave mines detecting device at minefields in Kosovo detecting nitrites in explosives. We demined a claimed minefield of 100 x 100 m in only one morning. 29 of 29 mines found (100%, if you demine 98% it's called "cleared"/demined)! Normally you need 1-3 weeks for this work. Next morning all our hightech stuff was confiscated by US Government, because of "National Security", without compensation! Our group was oppressed by US and German "officials" after that! Yes, we had the official order to demine minefields, but not so effective! And Wolf0579, we got a hard kick in the ass, not a Noble prize... sad truth!
Milton
Future 3000 needs a tinfoil hat... pronto. 98% is NOT "Cleared" when you are talking about land mines. And just to bag on the metal-detector concept a little more, there are a LOT of false-positives when you are in the field.
SteveCohen
Calson: Guess whose technology the guy is using for his anti-mine drone: http://www.jpost.com/International/Israeli-technology-clears-landmines-in-Angola