Minus Mines

The mine detector “Minus Mines” employs a new method of landmine detection, using a method for electro-chemical sensation of TNT in the air, comparable to the a sniffer dog detects smell.

Landmines are one of the cruelest representations of aftermaths of war: worldwide 100 million people are buried in former regions of war because of landmines and mines cause the death or mutilation of more than 15.000 civilian victims every year.

Conventional demining methods only manage to defuse about 100.000 mines per year, because they are very time intensive. Standard mine detectors use metal detectors for revealing mines, only identifying those embodied in a metal shell. Therefore, sniffer dogs have to be additionally employed in order to reveal mines in a plastic shell.

The Fraunhofer Institute for Chemical Technology has developed a new electrochemical sensor technology that can define the presence of TNT molecules in the air, escaping in rare amounts from any TNT mine. With this tool, both mines in metal and in plastic cases can be detected.

The sensor is a size that is adaptable to a hand set, the design is simple and ergonomic to enable the user to solely concentrate on the signal sound. An expanded version includes a display informing users about the type of mine, its characteristics and the location of oneself and other mine detectors in the contaminated area. Also, a set for exploring wider areas with five detectors aside each other has been developed, although this version would be more cost intensive.

The electro-chemical process has been developed by the Fraunhofer Institut für Chemische Technologie, while the product design has been realized through a graduation work by Sebastian Bulitta (WPYU Gruppe für Gestaltung) in consultation with Menschen gegen Minen/ People Against Landmines.

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