November 18, 2011
An acoustic landmine detector sweeps fields at 7.5 square ft. per second
contributor: Rob Goodier
This innovation is one of our Promising Prototypes of IEEE’s Global Humanitarian Technology Conference in Seattle Oct. 30 – Nov 1. For more in the series, please see below.
Landmines can stay active up to 50 years after they are deployed, killing and maiming children and adults indiscriminately. Today there could be more than 110 million mines, and many more millions of unexploded bombs, shells and grenades, hidden in 68 countries around the world, UNICEF reports. Afghanistan, Angola and Cambodia are the most mine-ridden, accounting for 85% of the world’s mine casualties.
Worldwide, about mines kill or maim about 26,000 people every year, the UN says.
Faster, safer mine detection can clear mine fields more easily and free up land for development. A team at the Indian government’s Centre for Development of Advanced Computing hit on an interesting idea: an acoustic landmine detector. Soundwaves bouncing off of underground objects can reveal mines, even plastic ones, and differentiate them from similar-sized rocks or other rubble.
The researchers are testing an acousto-ultrasonic device that attaches to the front of armored vehicles. The detector is a 128-sensor array that, in tests, has scanned 7.5 square feet per second. It appears to work in at least four types of soils—mud, clay, silt and sand. Photos attached: courtesy of K.R. Rajesh