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article imageThe Mine Kafon, a cheap and practical way of dealing with mines

By Can Tran     Dec 6, 2012 in Technology
Massoud Hassani is working on a way to make it cheaper to deal with landmines while maintaining its effectiveness. As a result, he came up with the "Mine Kafon."
Landmines are still a problem in today's world. However, landmines aren't really used in warfare let alone in combat anymore. One can ask this question: How are landmines still a problem even though they are not used in warfare? This is due to landmines being used in past wars. For example, one can watch the old TV series called “MASH” which takes place during the Korean War. As a recurring element, there's a mine field. Even after the wars have ended, the landmines were still there hidden in the ground. As a result, there have been a continuously climbing number of civilian casualties. In the case of 2012, it says that landmine casualties in Cambodia are down. There are plenty of places in the world such as the Middle East and Southeast Asia where there are still landmines in place.
Those that survive landmine encounters end up with loss of limbs. That shows that landmines still present a danger to civilians. As a result, landmines are still an international issue that have to be dealt with.
Massoud Hassani, an Afghan refugee that's currently living in Europe, came up with the “Mine Kafon.” If you have ever played the game “Half-Life 2,” the Mine Kafon looks similar to this small ball that has a life of its own; but, you can manipulate it with the gravity gun. In the case of the Mine Kafon, Hassani came up with an inexpensive and practical way to clear out landmines. In one video, Hassani talked about how it usually costs $1,200 to clear out a single landmine. The Mine Kafon, from what Hassani says, costs about $40 to construct.
In a CNN article, dated November 29, the UN says that are 110+ million active landmines scattered across 70 countries. Using the UN figures and Hassani's calculation, it would cost at least $123 billion to deal with those landmines. The Mine Kafon is a sphere in which the core has a GPS system inside. Then, a bunch of bamboo sticks with pressure pads are attached. Thus, the Mine Kafon looks like some sort of sphere. From what Hassani says, the current model of the Mine Kafon can withstand up to four landmine explosions before losing too many legs. In short, it's four mines for every one Mine Kafon.
With that said, 15,000 Mine Kafons would be needed to deal with 60,000 landmines. Going back to the initial estimate of $1,200, it would take $72,000,000 to deal with that number of landmines. Since the Mine Kafon should only take $40 to make, it would take $600,000 to deal with those landmines.
The ball gets moving by a normal breeze. In this respect, the ball will go wherever the wind's breeze will take it.
Keep in mind, the Mind Kafon is still in its testing phase. While Hassani has come up with an ineffective way to clear landmines, the concept of the Mine Kafon does come with skepticism and scrutiny. In the same CNN article, the Mine Kafon would have to conform to International Mine Action Standards. According to Adam Komorowski who is part of the Mine Advisory Group, the Mine Kafon isn't likely to be accepted by the IMAS. He pointed out the use of wind as a flaw in the design.
In response, Hassani said he's aware of the limitations of the Mine Kafon.
When Hasani was a student at the Design Academy, the Mine Kafon was his final graduate project. The idea of the Mine Kafon came from his childhood. He might release the plans of the Mine Kafon in the near future in an open forum. That would enable other people to use the blueprints and adapt the Mine Kafon to their respective situations. The Middle East isn't the only place in the world where landmines are a problem.
While not perfect, the Mine Kafon is a start. In a recent TEDxTalks video, Hassani has talked about the Mine Kafon.
More about mine kafon, Mines, minefields, Landmines, clearing landmines
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