How to clear landmines in 2009
Landmine 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.
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Spider landmine: six legs, not necessarily as deadly as a black widow
As landmines go, this innovative XM-7 Spider is pretty safe. It is controlled by a human operator, so it should be easy to locate with no danger of the home side stumbling into it.
When it arrives in situ, it puts out six trip wires, 60 degrees apart, and in line with the canisters which can loaded with either explosive charges or non-lethal gases…