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Clearing landmines across the world in less than 10 years

24 January 2017

Mine Kafon is an innovative, cost-effective wind-powered device that is heavy enough to detonate landmines as it rolls across the ground.

Mine Kafon (Credit: Massoud Hassani)

Landmines can lie dormant for decades until something triggers them. They are often activated by pressure, radio signal or proximity of a person. The UN has calculated the cost of removing a landmine can be up to 50 times its cost of production, with potential loss of human lives. Approximately one clearance specialist is killed and two injured for every 5,000 mines cleared. 

The Mine Kafon is faster, safer and up to 120 times cheaper than traditional landmine removal techniques. It is approximately the height and weight of the average man, allowing it to trigger landmines as it rolls across the landscape. 

The core of the design comprises of a 17kg iron casing, surrounded by dozens of radiating bamboo legs that each have a round plastic ‘foot’. The feet act as a suspension mechanism which allows the Mine Kafon to roll over bumps, holes and other obstacles. A GPS unit is fitted inside the core that maps the route.

After each detonation triggered, the Mine Kafon loses some legs. It has a potential to detonate 3-4 landmines with each journey.

Mine Kafon Drone (Credit: Massoud Hassani)

The idea was created by Massoud Hassani who grew up on the outskirts of Kabul and would often play with homemade, wind-powered toys on the minefield. His vision of future mine clearing activities is seen as a fully automated process which doesn’t require any human interaction.

Hassani has also designed a Mine Kafon Drone, an airborne demining system developed to clear all landmines around the world in less than 10 years. It uses EMC detection to fly higher with accurate ground detection, resulting in a quicker rate on mine field clearing. The plan is to use hydrogen batteries in the drones so they can fly for up to three hours. It is also up to 20 times faster and 200 times cheaper than currently available technologies.

It works by flying over dangerous areas to map, detect and detonate landmines from a safe distance. The drone works autonomously, equipped with three separate interchangeable robotic extensions. Hovering approximately 4cm from the ground, the drone detects the mine and places a detonator on each one.

Since its first public appearance, Mine Kafon has been contributing to global awareness of the issues surrounding landmines throughout the world.

The Mine Kafon Drone currently has a campaign on Kickstarter.

Video courtesy of CNN.

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