Reactor

Making the Ugly Attractive: A Self-Propelled, Biodegradable Mine Detonator

by Kyle Chayka on December 27, 2012

Massoud Hassani's Mine Kafon (Scree capture by Hyperallergic)

Massoud Hassani’s Mine Kafon (Scree capture by Hyperallergic)

Afghan designer Massoud Hassani has created an elegant, efficient solution for a horrific, violent problem: His Mine Kafon is a wind-powered device made from plastic and bamboo that triggers land mines without hurting civilians.

The Mine Kafon is a central core designed to fit an array of legs: bamboo sticks topped with biodegradable plastic tops set on springs. As the wind moves the Mine Kafon across the desert, the device’s weight pushes down with enough force to trigger any land mines that might be hidden under the ground’s surface. If a mine explodes, the Kafon only loses one or two legs, enough to keep it rolling and detonate more mines.

The materials used in the device only cost about $53, nothing compared to even the cheapest robotic mine detonation devices, which run around $1,000. With one million Afghans living within 500 meters of areas expected to contain land mines, not to mention that every day 70 people (mostly civilians) around the world die from landmines, Hassani’s device could save innumerable lives.

In designing the Mine Kafon, Hassani was inspired by his own childhood in Afghanistan, turning the desert into a playground by racing wind-powered toys. Through his recently launched Kickstarter, he hopes to further develop the Mine Kafon, add a GPS system to the core to track its movements, and test it in a real minefield.

In design as well as in art and life, sometimes the simplest solutions are the best ones.

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