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Imagine No More Landmines: It May be Possible With 3D Printed Mine Kafon Drone

by • July 21, 2016 • No Comments

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[Image: AFP Photo/Jan Hessop]

In 1998, Massoud Hassani escaped Taliban-controlled Afghanistan, followed two years later by his younger brother, Mahmud. Currently, the Hassanis, 32 and 30, respectively, are Dutch citizens living safely in Eindhoven, but the horrifying events of their childhood, that include seeing their friends killed and maimed by landmines, never left them.

Well over 1,000 Afghani citizens were killed by landmines and improvised explosive devices in 2014, according to the Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor in Geneva – to say nothing of those injured or permanently maimed by stepping on the hidden explosives. Despite the fact that over 18 million unexploded devices have been retrieved of Afghanistan since 1989, the country – and most others – are yet full of mines, and locating and removing them is a dangerous, time-consuming task. The Hassanis, yet, may have come up with a way to manufacture that task simpler, faster, and safer.

In 2011, Massoud graduated of the Design Academy Eindhoven with his final project, an object he called a mine kafon, of the Dari word “kafondan,” meaning “something that explodes.” The giant ball, that resembled a dandelion puffball, began as an art project, but it evolved, with assist of Massoud’s brother, into an actual mine-clearing device that rolled around minefields, pushed by the wind, triggering mines with its plastic stalks.

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The invention won approval of several prominent anti-landmine organizations, and now, with the assist of the Dutch Ministry of Defence, the brothers and their research and development company, Hassani Design BV, made in 2013, have made the Mine Kafon Drone. The 10-pound, 3D printed drone is, according to the Hassanis, capable of clearing land mines up to 20 times faster than existing technologies.

11e70a88a3e49b4226738d74293fda87_originalThe drone works in a three-step process: First, it flies over the designated area to be cleared, scanning it with an aerial 3D mapping process and marking dangerous areas with GPS way points. Next, it travels over the field again, this time hovering at of four cm above the ground. A robotic metal-detecting arm detects the presence of mines and geotags them on the operator’s process to turn it into a exact map of the mines’ locations. Finally, the robotic arm is equipped with pincers that carry tiny detonating devices, that the drone places on the detected mines. The mines are and so detonated of a safe distance, via a timer.

The following step is a pilot study to demonstrate the drone’s capabilities to governments, non-governmental organizations and the UN, as well as to field test the drone in various locations and weather conditions. Following that, the Hassanis hope to start batch production and have initiated a Kickstarter campaign to raise €70,000 ($77,464) by August 31. The four-day-old campaign has may already raised over $20,000.

“With the Mine Kafon Drone we can save thousands of lives,” say the Hassanis on their Kickstarter site. “Civilians can have access to agriculture, water resources, education, and the freedom to play outdoor sports. A billion folks already cannot move freely for fear of mines. Can you imagine that we may liberate these folks in all affected countries with the Mine Kafon Drone?”

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The Hassanis present the drone to Queen Maxima of the Netherlands. [Image: Kickstarter]

Pledge rewards range of a bracelet with the Mine Kafon logo (€12, or $13) to a three-day drone workshop (€7,000 or $7,746). Rewards for contribution amounts in between include a 3D printed/laser cut Mine Kafon Miniature, field mapping sponsorships, a attractive lamp made by Hassani Design, and the Mine Kafon drone, open for developers, itself.

The largest reward, of course, is the idea of a landmine-free world. It may be complex to envision, but the Hassanis ponder that the Mine Kafon can manufacture it possible in as little as a decade. What do you ponder? Discuss additional over in the 3D Printed Drone Detects Landmines forum over at 3DPB.com.

Watch the Kickstarter video below: