How to clear landmines in 2009

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minesweeper.pngLandmine clearance is a dangerous, time-consuming job. It used to involve tools like flail trucks, plows and the simple metal detector, but none are good enough to hit the 99.6% standard set by the United Nations for humanitarian demining.

A Canadian company, Mine Clearing Corp, is trying to change all that. It’s got a helicopter-mounted detection system that uses a ground-penetrating radar and metal detection system to detect buried objects from as high as 200ft up in the air. The location can then be pinpointed to as close as 20cm.

Once that’s accomplished, minesweepers on the ground can use a tool called the Fig8 to locate the mine. Quite niftily, the swinging back-and-forth motion generates kinetic energy which powers the device, so it doesn’t need batteries – useful in the third world. Considering that the UN estimates that someone dies every 20 minutes from a landmine, this should help step up the de-mining procedure.

(via CNET)

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Duncan Geere