Cleaning up minefields, or creating a new garbage dump?

By | November 20, 2012
A cheap way of clearing minefields is good. But I still wonder: What happens if one of these giant tumbleweed balls rolls into you, your lifestock, or some other bit of valuable property? Or do they collect at some point up in a mountain village, mowing down crops and turning a subsistance farm into a ghost town? Or are they perfectly harmless and can stop at the slightest interference?

Reshared post from +EuroTech

Mine Kafon: A Cheap Minesweeper
by +Sophie Wrobel, +EuroTech; Germany

Meet Mine Kafon, a $40 wind-powered mine sweeping device created by Massoud Hassani as part of his thesis at the Design Academy Eindhoven.

The structure is made of 70 bamboo legs with biodegradable plastic ‘feet’ arranged in a tumbleweed-like structure. In the middle is it’s sole electronic component, a GPS system used to track detonated mine locations. When deployed in a minefield, it rolls about carried by the wind until it hits and detonates a mine. The deminer has already been strength-tested and approved, and Hassani plans on launching a Kickstarter project to begin commercializing it next week. With professional mine removal costs running around $1200 per mine, the potential of this device is huge.

The Motivation behind Mine Kafon
The story behind Mine Kafon is equally compelling: it is motivated by childhood memories of smaller, wind-carried toys landing in the minefields. In the words of its creator:

“I grew up in Qasaba, Kabul. My family moved there when I was 5, and at the time there were several wars going on. My brother Mahmud and I we played every day on the fields surrounded with the highest mountains in our neighbourhood.

“When we were young we learned to make our own toys. One of my favourites was a small rolling object that was wind-powered. We used to race against the other kids on the fields around our neighbourhood. There was always a strong wind waving towards the mountains. While we were racing against each other, our toys rolled too fast and too far. Mostly they landed in areas where we couldn’t go rescue them because of landmines. I still remember those toys I’d made that we lost and watching them just beyond where we could go.

“Almost 20 years later, I went back to Qasaba and made those toys again. That was my graduation project for the Design Academy Eindhoven (2011). I remade one, making it 20 times bigger as well as heaver and stronger. Powered by the wind, it’s meant for the same areas which were (and still are) full of mines.

“Now if it rolls over a mine, the toy, now a Mine Kafon, will destroy itself and the landmine in the same time. Made from bamboo and biodegradable plastics, the Mine Kafon also has a GPS chip integrated in it. You can follow its movement on the website and see were it went, where are the safest paths to walk on and how many land mines are destroyed in that area. On paper, Afghanistan is said to have 10 million land mines. In truth there are far, far more. Every destroyed land mine means a saved life and every life counts.”

Mine Kafon on Tour
Want to see this device in person? Gallery Slott in Paris will be hosting an exhibit dedicated to Mine Kafon in February 2013, after which the exhibit will head onwards to the MOMA in New York in March 2013.

Tags: #ScienceEveryday
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3 thoughts on “Cleaning up minefields, or creating a new garbage dump?

  1. Sophie Wrobel

    I love Theo Jansen's work too- very artistic. I believe there was also a Japanese artist with similar work to Jansen, but can't recall his name.

    Reply

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