Jul 21, 2016 | By Alec

Theologian Martin Luther famously called war the worst plague that can affect humanity, but landmines might be even worse as they continue to take lives for decades after the war is actually over. This can still be seen today, after more than a century of extensive use of mines. Right now, there are more than 100 million active landmines spread out through the world (most of them focused in about 60 countries) and more than ten civilians are being killed or maimed by them on a daily basis. Minesweeping, meanwhile, is a costly and time-consuming process and it can take years to clear a single area.

But there might be a 3D printed solution to this problem. Afghan brothers Massoud and Mahmud Hassani, who are now living in the Netherlands, have developed a low cost mine detector and detonator called the Mine Kafon Drone (MKD)– with Kafon meaning explosion in Dari. This 3D printed drone can affordably detect and detonate landmines and other explosives, and is up to twenty times more efficient (and 200 times cheaper) than existing minesweeping solutions. To make the world a safer place, they have just launched the MKD on Kickstarter with the intentions of raising €70,000. Who says drones are nothing more than toys?

Massoud and Mahmud saw firsthand what horrors landmines bring to the world. Growing up in Afghanistan, landmines were simply a common danger. Even today, it is estimated that there are about 10 million landmines in Afghanistan alone. Upon reaching the west, the Hassanis were therefore determined to do something about this, and built the original Mine Kafon in 2011 – a wind-powered tumbleweed-like device that rolls over mine fields to detonate the mines with its bamboo feet. Originally intended as an art object, it quickly raised awareness about the global landmine problem. The brothers set up a Mine Kafon Foundation in 2013, with the goal of developing new demining solutions.

Taking a more high-tech approach, the Hassanis have now built a drone version of the Mine Kafon. At its core, the MKD is little more than a 3D printed drone that becomes hugely potent when combined with a metal detector and GPS system. As they reveal, they are seeking to spread their open-source solution to every country on the planet dealing with landmines. Drones can thus also be a positive thing in the war-torn regions of the world.

And as the brothers reveal, the MKD is very functional. “The Mine Kafon Drone flies over dangerous areas to map, detect and detonate landmines from a safe distance. The drone works autonomously equipped with three separate interchangeable robotic extensions,” they say. Aerial mapping takes place through GPS way points, while a robotic metal detecting arm hovers 4cm above the ground to detect the mines. “Every detected mine is geotagged on the operator's system to construct a map of known mine locations,” they say. While GPS has a typical accuracy of just 4m, the Hassanis are using triangulated GPS and external antennas on the field to increase that accuracy.

What’s more, the drone’s detection technology is more efficient than many conventional methods. “It can be difficult to detect land mines [with conventional methods], as the quality of the metal degrades significantly after decades of lying dormant in the ground. Metal detection can also be hindered by differences in terrain and variations in the soil,” they explain. “Nevertheless, the MKD is able to detect even the weakest metal frequencies underground in various terrains and can operate at full capacity in jungles, mountains, deserts or agricultural surfaces.”

To disarm the mines found, the MKD simply uses a robotic gripper to place small detonators on each and every mine. These are subsequently detonated from a safe distance. This method stands in stark contrast to other mine removal systems, which are far less high tech. Often, it involves people armed with minesweepers or trained animals to clear areas – which is a very hazardous job. In some countries, huge bulldozers are simply sent over the field to clear them. The MKD is thus, in every possible way, much safer.

But the MKD has other advantages too. Aside from being completely casualty free, it is also modular and can be adapted to numerous situations. What’s more, it gathers a lot of data by mapping and scanning the area, making it possible to set up realistic operation procedures for the demining process. Finally, the gathered data is also systematically analyzed to provide researchers with more knowledge on mines in the area.

With this fantastic drone solution, the designers believe that they can make the entire world landmine-free in just ten years. “With Mine Kafon Drone we could save thousands of lives. Inhabitants will have access to agriculture, water resources, freedom to outdoor sports and education. A billion more people will have no fear of danger,” they say of their solution.

But that would not have been possible without 3D printing. As Massoud explains, they are hoping to bring 3D printing solutions to the war-torn regions of the world, and build and repair drones on the spot. It’s just another example of how 3D printing’s very decentralized character can really make a difference. If you want to assist this fantastic endeavor, you can support it on Kickstarter here. Of course the rewards are perhaps a bit unconventional for Kickstarter campaigns, but so much more meaningful. For a pledge of just €25, you can help to map a 10,000 m2 mine field. That’s worth so much more than just another trinket. But if that’s not enough, you can even get a DIY MKD kit by pledging €850 (or approximately $940).



Posted in 3D Printing Application



Maybe you also like:


luiso wrote at 7/21/2016 9:09:38 PM:

Goverments with landmines issues should be investing on this yesterday

I.AM.Magic wrote at 7/21/2016 4:14:49 PM:

Drones for good, great job!

Leave a comment:

Your Name:


Subscribe us to

3ders.org Feeds 3ders.org twitter 3ders.org facebook   

About 3Ders.org

3Ders.org provides the latest news about 3D printing technology and 3D printers. We are now seven years old and have around 1.5 million unique visitors per month.

News Archive