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The ‘mine kafon’ detonates mines as it is blown around by the wind

Could drones be used to detect landmines?

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They can be devastating to the lives of those who live near them, but maybe there is a low-tech solution to clearing landmines.

Asked by: Panos Augustithis, Greece


It’s very tricky to detect mines because they are designed to be hidden from view. An unmanned drone is being developed for this purpose in the UK by Sir Bobby Charlton’s charity Find a Better Way. It aims to spot chemicals leaching from mines using its hyperspectral imaging of plant foliage.

However, most devices aim to safely detonate the landmines. An unusual example is the ‘mine kafon’. This giant biodegradable ball of bamboo spines is designed to be blown by the wind across a minefield, detonating mines that its spines touch, while its onboard GPS records where it has travelled.


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Dr Peter Bentley is a computer scientist and author who is based at University College London. He is the author of books including 10 Short Lessons in Artificial Intelligence and Robotics and Digital Biology: How nature is transforming our technology and our lives.


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