Mahmud Hassani and his brother Massoud saw firsthand the damage landmines did to anyone who to stumbled across them as the supposed playgrounds for children were minefields. The landmines left by the Soviet rebels inspired the brothers to develop a drone prototype which can detect and destroy the explosive devices.
The invention inspired by the terrors of war in Afghanistan was featured on Wednesday in the NT100, a list by Britain-based charity Nominet Trust of innovations that use technology to tackle major world problems. Mahmud Hassani while recalling the patch of land near his childhood home where he and others would play told the Thomson Reuters Foundation that it was normal for them to have a playground full of landmines.
Drones have been used worldwide now for different uses and purposes. Mahmud Hassani said the Mine Kafon Drone aims to map, detect and detonate landmines. The drone is fitted with a 3D mapping system and locates landmines with a metal detector. It places a small detonator on top of them using a robotic arm before it sets off the device remotely.
According to the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) estimated 10 million landmines have been planted in Afghanistan and in 2015 the country recorded the highest number of mine-related casualties in the world, with 1,310 people killed or wounded. Hassani, who now resides in the Netherlands along with his brother, said that their drone prototype was up to 120 times cheaper and 20 times faster than traditional mine-clearing techniques.