A revolutionary new drone has the ability to find, map, and dispose of land mines in a fraction of the time it takes humans, all without putting any lives at risk.
Today, estimates show that there are some 100 million land mines still buried in the ground around the world. While many agencies and governments are pushing for a ban on land mines, efforts to rid the world of the ones already in the ground are minimal — well over 3,000 people are killed annually, according to land mine watchdog The Monitor.
“There is not enough innovation. We are trying to create a better tool for them with robotics and drones to do things faster,” Massed Hassani, creator of the new Mine Kafon Drone, said according to Fast Co. Exist. “If we use the old technology, we won’t be able to get rid of this problem at all in our lifetime.”
The Mine Kafon Drone, while complex in its design, follows a simple method. A drone or a team of drones survey a given area looking for surface signs of a land mine, such as scarred earth. Next the drones return outfitted with mine sweepers and they methodically patrol the area, mapping the mines as they are found. And finally, the drones return with small explosives used to detonate each land mine.
Hassani, a designer and artist who grew up in Afghanistan — a country still rife with long-forgotten land mines — developed the Mine Kafon Drone as the successor to his Mine Kafon. That device was a giant bamboo ball designed to roll over and explode land mines. And while that iteration of the Mine Kafon was more artistic than practical and now currently resides in a museum, Hassani’s drone has the power to make a real impact.
Hassani and his team are estimating that 10 drones working together could clear a 60 square mile area in a year, and, with the right amount of drones, the entire world in just 10 years.
To get the ball rolling, Hassani put together a KickStarter campaign that easily met its $77,000 goal. Since then Hassani and his team have added two more objectives to the project: longer lasting batteries and better detection and mapping methods.
So, for now, the Mine Kafon Drone is still in the prototype phase, but Hassani would like to see them going into production sometime in early 2017. And, he believes, in addition to being the safest and fastest mine clearing method, they will also be much cheaper.
“The robots used by militaries have a [$78,000] starting price and go up to [$557,000]. That’s too expensive for NGOs or local communities. By keeping it open source, our drones will cost $1,000 to $5,000,” the inventor said according to Fast Co. Exist.
“So far, we have already developed several working prototypes of the Mine Kafon Drone. We have performed tests with the Dutch Ministry of Defense on their territory and spoke with their experts on demining difficulties,” Hassani says. “The Mine Kafon Drone is now ready for its next step.”
For his attention grabbing approach, for his innovation, and for creating a viable solution to a dire problem, we are proud to name Massoud Hassani our Luminary of the week.
For more information or to give to the Mine Kafon Drone, go here.