Land mines kill 42 people every month. They’re all over Egypt, where Bedouins frequently lose limbs while daring desert treks, and in 81 other countries around the globe. Pernicious and anonymous, these weapons of mass devastation are almost impossible to destroy without compromising human lives. Which means that any solution that attempts to do so deserves the full weight of our support.
Enter Massoud Hassani and the biodegradable bamboo “minesweeper” featured previously on Green Prophet. An enormously popular wind-powered device modeled after the Afghan designer’s childhood toy, the spherical Mine Kafon has biodegradable bamboo and plastic spikes that detonate landmines rooted out with help from a sophisticated GPS chip embedded in the large ball.
Relatively cheap and easy to reproduce, in theory, one of these giant balls could potentially destroy three or four mines in one jaunt through a land mine field. And if a whole army of them is unleashed, imagine all the play space that will be made available once more to the world’s outdoor enthusiasts.
Exhibited at design shows all over the world and recently acquired by MOMA in New York, Mine Kafon could become a reality with the crowd’s help. Hassani is running a kickstarter campaign that has already raised £64,025 out of its goal of £100,000 to develop a working prototype of the detonator so that it can actually be put to work in the field.
Hassani acknowledges the potential pitfalls of this ambitious project. For starters, it will be necessary to deploy a very sophisticated GPS with a”higher than average” accuracy if the detonator is going to work.
The design team will also need to work with engineers to ensure the Mine Kafon is sufficiently durable to withstand its task while still being modular and cheaply produced since the parts are intended to be blown up!
With supports from as far afield as London, Helskinki and New York, the kickstarter campaign has been enormously successful so far, but it hasn’t crossed the finish line yet.
Funds generated will be used to perfect the Mine Kafon’s engineering, fabrication and transport and to create a small documentary. All kinds of lovely gifts are available, including beautiful minesweeper lamps that resemble the biodegradable discs at the end of the legs.
Land mines are a plague. This is a potential cure. Check out the Kickstarter campaign and lend your support if you feel duly moved.
Map © Landmine Monitor Report