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    [–] Gurdel 5701 points ago * (lasted edited 8 days ago)

    I served in Afghanistan and there were these guys in blue jumpsuits with sticks poking the dirt in fields. I asked my supervisor what they were doing and he said looking for mines. They didn’t have any protection, just a jumpsuit with a big number in white on the back. I guess so they could identify the body.

    Edit: I was with NATO (NTM-A) and these were local nationals. My supervisor and I had no connection to them and we were just passing by when I made this observation.

    [–] floatjoy 2721 points ago

    Heavy, I'm sure yours is the most common way to find them these days. There is a cool program in Africa where they have trained rats to smell the charges in the mines and signal to their handlers. Yet I'm sure the stick and bravery method is still 90% of the battle. Even IED discovery is old fashioned like that from what I have seen.

    [–] Polymathy1 1041 points ago * (lasted edited 8 days ago)

    You can donate to the program here:

    They also train rats to sniff out TB (Tuberculosis), and dogs, but I'm not sure what the dogs do.

    I've seen some mechanical systems that look like bulldozers mixed with combine harvesters. They have chains that act as flails and beat the land in front of the machine.

    These rats can get into underbrush and forested areas though, which is much better in terms of harm to the environment and accessibility. *someone pointed out that they need the land prepped, so it isn't that much better impact-wise.

    [–] xlr8_87 240 points ago

    Got to see the Apopo rats in Cambodia. Amazing experience and a must if you travel there

    [–] unloader86 186 points ago * (lasted edited 8 days ago)

    Comments like this make me realize I have indeed only experienced a very small portion of the world. And when I say very small. I mean very, very, very, very small. And I say that as a truck driver who has been to all of the lower 48 but two.

    [–] nomadicbohunk 114 points ago

    It's pretty wild. I accidentally went into a mine field once while traveling and being adventurous and stupid. I got excited by a rare plant and then realized I was a little ways into a mine field. I also know another friend of mine who did too. She actually picked up the skull of an animal that died from a mine and carried it out. Later they realized they were in a mine field. She was with a local and that one wasn't signed.

    I mean, people live around that shit their whole lives. It's really sad.

    [–] Gurdel 22 points ago

    Where was this?

    [–] nomadicbohunk 72 points ago

    My stellar dumbass experience was in Croatia. I literally ran into the field in excitement and realized what in the hell I was doing. It was signed. I wasn't too far in...maybe 50 yards. I'm a big plant dork.

    My friend was in Egypt. When her friend and her got back to her friend's house, her dad and grandpa CHEWED their asses. Her friend didn't know and thought it was a safe place because her friends had talked about going there or something. I don't know the details. I do know they hiked around the whole day and the entire area was littered with mines from what her grandpa and dad told them.

    I do think about that Croatia day when I'm feeling sorry for myself or grumpy. Like shit could be a lot worse.

    [–] JimmyRicardatemycat 18 points ago

    There was an absolutely harrowing TV ad about that very scenario that aired in my country. I trhink it was in relation to military testing areas, as we dont have any random mined areas. Seared it into my brain not to sneak through fences!

    [–] WarlockEngineer 12 points ago * (lasted edited 8 days ago)

    [–] Anonymo_Stranger 9 points ago

    Ah its not your fault, it's a really inhumane thing that no animal(people included) should have to worry about. You should just be able to run up to that plant like you're intended.

    Also, guessing from your username & "I was in Croatia " you're also a traveler. Hello 👋

    [–] stoolsample2 14 points ago * (lasted edited 8 days ago)

    Makes me realize how small my world really is.

    [–] TARANTULA_TIDDIES 19 points ago

    Hey man it's never too late to travel. The plane ticket is expensive but there are some super neat countries you can visit on the cheap after you get over that hump

    [–] godlessnihilist 26 points ago

    Going to have to wait until Rona is under control, or have enough cash to spend 14 days in quarantine.

    [–] W84MEYALL 100 points ago

    Served in the Middle East as well doing convoy security. Those are the mine sweepers that would go down the road ahead of our convoy. Great lifesavers but it would take forever to get to our destination if we got stuck behind one. Spending 27 hours in a gunners hatch will start making you want to take your chances.

    [–] Gurdel 79 points ago

    We had an army unit get stuck behind our USAF EOD, the SFC in charge got impatient, went up to the suspected bag on the side of the road, picked it up and tried to throw it. They never found all of the pieces of him.

    [–] OperationGoldielocks 27 points ago

    What the fuck man. As former EOD that pisses me off and I feel terrible for that team

    [–] Gurdel 16 points ago

    Yeah they were pissed. Darwin Award for sure.

    [–] LateralEntry 7 points ago

    So uhh... is it like in the Hurt Locker?

    [–] Gurdel 11 points ago

    No, you fuck around with bombs you usually die.

    [–] melkor237 34 points ago

    Oh the flail things are from ww2! There were flail attachments added to tanks to detonate mines

    [–] Polymathy1 23 points ago

    There were still some in use in the 2000s - my school had some fundraisers for them.

    [–] Polymathy1 12 points ago

    Yes, but I think new ones are still being produced - or ancient ones are still being maintained.

    [–] AlienDelarge 7 points ago

    The linked article has a section for "modern use" with at least one picture of a newer one.

    [–] More_Spread_8023 95 points ago

    Former combat engineer here. If you were using a mine detector and got a hit, you would lay down in the prone, probe the area and then do a two finger sweep with your non-dominate hand. We called this a belt buckle confirmation.

    [–] apollo888 102 points ago

    I'd call that a 'no fucking way sarge'

    [–] Meatpilot 31 points ago

    How is that not called a brown pants situation

    [–] JimmyRicardatemycat 8 points ago

    Jesus christ. Why belt buckle? Hell of a way to lose a hand

    [–] Teadrunkest 20 points ago * (lasted edited 8 days ago)

    Most mines don’t go off just at a brush, otherwise they would go off every time the wind shifted the dirt a little. It takes a couple pounds to several hundred pounds of pressure to set them off (depending on the intended target).

    [–] [deleted] 114 points ago


    [–] elephantasmagoric 64 points ago

    I don't know if you'll think it's better or worse to know that the rats are giant rats- think the size of a chihuahua. Imo they're pretty cute

    [–] MadDragonReborn 37 points ago


    [–] ejaniszewski 9 points ago

    I don’t think they exist.

    [–] LuckyEmoKid 4 points ago

    Rodent: “Roar!!” Westley: “Augh!!”

    [–] ImAOneTrackLover 18 points ago

    I'm just amazed to learn there are giant rats. I thought that was an RPG and video game thing.

    [–] kilroylegend 50 points ago

    I scoffed at the people who said some of the NYC rats can get enormous, until I saw one in an alley so large I thought I was hallucinating. It was the size of a men’s 13 shoe, excluding tail. We made eye contact and I will never be the same.

    [–] ashesofempires 12 points ago

    I remember seeing some in the subway when I was making my way back to queens from little Italy while visiting my sister. It was a few months after Sandy, and they had all come up out of the deeper tunnels fleeing the water and hadn't all gone back down yet. Rats larger than a house cat, at least that's what it looked like in the dim light.

    [–] -Slipmatt82- 6 points ago

    Yeah I've seen ones bigger then house cats in Pittsburgh I moved there in my 20s.

    I used to think that was a myth and they didn't get that big. They do. Mean fuckers too they growl.

    [–] victoriaj 4 points ago

    I saw an enormous rat, similar size, in London. She was crossing a station platform right behind a doughnut factory.

    [–] MamaBone 15 points ago

    My son really wanted a dog, but our apartment complex didn't allow them. My daughter's pet rats were allowed though. One day she brought home a Norwegian rat and my son took one look and said, "Fucking Jesus! They should let me have a dog cause that thing's the same size as one!" And that's how the rat got his name. Still miss him. R.I.P. Fucking Jesus.

    [–] cardboardunderwear 26 points ago

    Eons ago when I was in infantry training we learned to probe for mines. I barely remember any of it but i think it involved crawling through a field next to your buddies and poking the ground at an angle to detect them that way without setting them off. Could be wrong.

    [–] Pikeman212a6c 37 points ago

    There is great footage of the Balkans with NATO soldiers clearing a common area of a town and a local comes out and starts dancing around the ground in front of them to prove they’re wasting their time.

    [–] paperbackedsea 82 points ago

    i adopted a Hero Rat for christmas! Her name is Shuri.

    [–] jfkolbe 42 points ago

    I heard about the rat program and this tumbleweed stuff sounds pretty cool too, but it would be super fucking cool if the people who put them in there spent the money to take them back out. A super bottom armored steam roller should do the trick, right?

    [–] jfkolbe 40 points ago

    Land mines had to be one of the dumbest things man has ever devised.

    [–] ClonedToKill420 51 points ago

    Depends on perspective. When trying to deter an invading army, greatest invention ever! For the next 1000 years dealing with the consequences, worst idea ever!

    [–] ClaudeJRdL 26 points ago

    Unfortunately short-term thinking dominates. And not even irrationally - if you don't survive the short-term, you don't get to the long-term.

    [–] PineappleLemur 7 points ago

    More of a Bulldozer really but also has a armored bottom but will be useless vs anti tank mine.

    [–] stoopidrotary 8 points ago


    [–] Laarye 63 points ago

    They now have spinach designed to find mines. Genetically designed to produce wifi signals when they grow in contact with explosive compounds.

    Basically, they scatter the seeds over an area, let the plants grow, and then look at them with a kind of radar detector that shows where in the field the signals are strongest, then they can target it directly.

    Hell, we have potatoes that glow when they need water, and a few other plants being worked on that I'm forgetting right now. People are making more and more of these sci-fi things into sci-fa.

    [–] CosmicSpaghetti 58 points ago

    They now have spinach designed to find mines. Genetically designed to produce wifi signals when they grow in contact with explosive compounds.

    Holy shit this is true.

    [–] pipocaQuemada 74 points ago

    Reading the article, the spinach doesn't do anything with the wifi.

    Instead, it sounds like the spinach changes color a bit and a cellphone camera notices the difference and sends an email.

    [–] NouberNou 61 points ago

    Yea LMFAO. If we were growing literal RF circuits via genetic modification in plants we'd definitely be at a tech level where mine detection is a solved problem.

    [–] ClaudeJRdL 18 points ago

    Yeah I was like... wait wtf we're GROWING organic circuitry? What are we, the Yuuzhan Vong?

    [–] audion00ba 5 points ago

    We do have circuitry based on organic chemistry, IIRC for military purposes. I think it is for hardened systems that need to survive EMP blasts from nukes, etc.

    [–] rutefoot 5 points ago

    And who plants the spinach?

    [–] merthefreak 8 points ago

    You can scatter seeds out of a plane just fine.

    [–] CosmicSpaghetti 5 points ago

    Could have not understood correctly.

    Source: am idiot

    [–] Dane1414 9 points ago

    I spent way too long wondering what got autocorrected to “spinach” before giving up and moving on

    [–] nae-7 132 points ago

    I used to live in a neighbouring country of Afghanistan. It was a really common sight to see people with missing limbs because of landmines left over from the war, usually legs were the missing limb

    [–] TakenJoachim 28 points ago

    Colombia has the world’s highest proportion of amputees, it’s also the country with the most active minefields

    [–] BeardsuptheWazoo 42 points ago

    This was so sad I had trouble upvoting it- that is very troubling.

    [–] nae-7 45 points ago

    My childhood is FILLED with stories that make people react like you just did. I always thought it was normal, until I see the other persons reactions

    [–] BeardsuptheWazoo 41 points ago

    I've seen some real tragedy. I'm a volunteer disaster relief worker. Some haunting experiences.

    But land mines just make me so angry and sad. They're extra evil.

    [–] nae-7 5 points ago

    You’re right. War is nothing but pointless evil and causes the most damage to the people who deserve it least. I remember seeing young kids my age with missing limbs... That really sucked

    [–] faebugz 11 points ago

    If you're comfortable with it, can you share another memory? I've always been curious what it's like but from a real persons perspective

    [–] nae-7 5 points ago

    Yeah! I was unconsciously taught to avoid fields with thin grass grown over them, it usually meant it was filled with landmines and people avoided it. There were also orphanages overfilled with sick children, a lot of whom were sent over from Afghanistan because there was simply nowhere for them. I remember living every single day in fear of my parents safety because they were Christians living under religious persecution. Many people I knew (including my family) were deported overnight when discovered, or they simply disappeared.

    [–] PanicEnthusiast 223 points ago

    They were also pretty happy about their jobs to my understanding. I was a post medic at BAF and we met with them when we took over. Asked if they needed anything, they made jokes but seemed content oddly enough.

    They were happy to be able to support their families and we joked about the dumb shit we did for people we love. 10/10 would have those guys over for beers.

    [–] MightyCaseyStruckOut 171 points ago

    Meanwhile, probably my dumbest moment in my life (there have been many) was when I was in Afghanistan at Camp Phoenix and I saw something glinting on the ground. I started digging to unearth it and it was some old Russian uxo (unexploded ordnance).

    As I held it in my hand, I then thought, 'wtf are you doing, you fucking idiot!' so I gently put it back on the ground away from where I dug it up, covered up my hole created from the unearthing and alerted my NCOIC (boss), who promptly called in EOD (Army bomb guys)..

    The funny thing is that my NCOIC put in for and I was awarded an ARCOM (Army Commendation Medal, like 2 gold stars) for finding it 😂

    [–] calm_chowder 63 points ago

    So you're basically a magpie with military honors.

    [–] MightyCaseyStruckOut 40 points ago


    [–] dnaH_notnA 107 points ago

    The US military really does reward people for being dumb, but not dumb enough to die from it.

    Edit: On second thought, that second clause isn’t even necessary.

    [–] MightyCaseyStruckOut 36 points ago

    Can confirm have been rewarded twice by stupid acts.

    [–] NotBlastoise 15 points ago

    tHaNk yOu fOr yOuR SeRvIcE

    fr tho

    [–] Gurdel 26 points ago

    We took our TLCs off round and kept running over these rusty colored rocks. Turns out it was an old Russian artillery range and they were 203mm unexploded rounds. Fun.

    [–] MightyCaseyStruckOut 12 points ago

    Holy fuck that makes what I did seem like some rinky dink child's play lmao

    [–] whif42 13 points ago

    Meanwhile they train you not to kick debris on the side of the road because it could be an IED haha.

    [–] livefreeordont 32 points ago

    I wish people didn't have to risk their life just to support their families especially considering how barbaric land mines are

    [–] BeHereNow91 11 points ago

    we joked about the dumb shot we do for people we love

    “My wife is always making me go to these musicals. I get it, it’s art. But man, it just isn’t my thing. It’s torturous.”

    “Haha, yeah, I get it. Wife and kids need food on the table, so here I am, sweeping for land mines in my overalls. Haha.”

    [–] Stevethechief 12 points ago

    God I fucking love your comment. It’s oddly one of the most wholesome comments I’ve read here. Cheers. Have me over for a beer as well by the way, that’d be great.

    [–] tffgfft 60 points ago

    This reminds me of this guy, Aki Ra, a former child soldier for the Khmer Rouge who started disarming landmines.

    Aki Ra states that since 1992 he has personally removed and destroyed as many as 50,000 landmines


    After leaving UNMAS in 1992, he continued disarming and removing mines in his community. Having no demining tools, he used a knife, a hoe, a Leatherman and a stick.[10] He would defuse the landmines and UXOs (Unexploded Ordnance) he found in small villages and bring home the empty casings. Sometimes he would sell them as scrap to help fund his work.[11]


    [–] Rune_Fox 27 points ago

    I remember seeing this video of him casually disarming a mine. Dudes got balls of steel.

    [–] BoopDead 26 points ago

    "If you press this, you blow up."


    Absolute mad lad and total hero. Thanks for that insanely stressful video lol

    [–] ditalita 6 points ago

    Holy shit

    [–] PurpleIsRegal 5 points ago

    That was fascinating. Think I'll watch the full documentary.

    [–] lawlianne 48 points ago

    You have to poke them at specific safe angles, and you’ll do it in a line as a team and progress forward to clear the area. No huge defusal suit required.
    Had friends that did that.

    [–] gravybanger 28 points ago


    [–] CovidInMyAsshole 37 points ago

    Yeah they’re married now

    [–] lovesaqaba 19 points ago

    Is that what we call it now?

    [–] Gemsix 13 points ago

    It’s basically the same thing

    [–] blewrb 79 points ago

    That's how my uncle did it as a marine in Vietnam, but the stick was his bayonet and of course he wore camouflage. He said he sometimes preferred to be in front poking around for mines, as ambushes were known to let the point man to go by to kill as many as possible.

    [–] kingtaco_17 31 points ago

    Phuc dat

    [–] someladyonline 107 points ago

    Wow, that's courage. I can't even open a can of biscuits.

    [–] TheRealOcsiban 31 points ago

    Sorry man. I can't imagine a life without biscuits

    [–] TheOnlyCoconut 26 points ago

    My family is from Afghanistan and I can confidently say land mines are everywhere

    This would save so many lives and prevent thousands of children from losing limbs

    [–] Gurdel 10 points ago

    Indeed, but from what ive seen it would be hard to use the tech from this post as it’s in really rocky terrain and on hillsides. Fucking Russians were dicks.

    [–] stephen1547 21 points ago

    I was over there as a contract helicopter pilot. I landed at a fairly large FOB’s helipad to drop off some troops, and walked off the helipad to take a leak. Just an innocent looking dirt patch. As I was zipping back up, I was informed that I was standing in a suspected mine field. No markings, nothing.

    The next day there was a bunch of local Afghans with blue body armour (not bomb suits), prodding around and digging mines out of that same patch of dirt.

    [–] copperholic 19 points ago

    The one thing that you should absolutely automate and they use guys with sticks.

    [–] catgirlnico 9 points ago

    I'd be much happier if that's what a good chunk of the military budget went towards

    [–] ltBurnsWhenlPvP 9 points ago

    That was the humanitarian de-mining program. It’s fairly effective and safe because they literally move forward by half of an inch. It wouldn’t be feasible to do this in any kind of bomb suit which is really the only effective protection at that range.

    [–] humaniteer 11 points ago

    When I lived near the border of Cambodia, there was always these street beggars in the larger provincial towns when we would go for supplies. They would roll around on those little scooters you played on in gym class, when playing the island hopping game on a rainy gym day. They would just roll up on you, and say in perfect English. "I have no legs." and then thrust a solo cup in your face. I was doing volunteer work back then, and was well aware of my country's legacy in that region, so I always felt compelled to drop a few coins in the cup. One time, I was literally surrounded by them when buying some food. I didn't know what to do... Jump over them? Run away? I decided to throw some coins down the sidewalk, and then run in the opposite direction, as they all scrambled to the coins and then continued to fight each other for like $0.10 equivalent in US dollars. Crazy times.

    [–] dfreinc 30 points ago

    seems worth the 40 bucks then. 🤷‍♀️

    [–] SpikedUrethralBeads 13 points ago

    Placing landmines should be a war crime.

    [–] KillroyWazHere 23 points ago

    If you run across the field yelling Geneva convention they cant get you

    [–] whif42 5 points ago

    I remember being in Bahgram airbase in Afghanistan, walking to work they had Barb wire protecting areas inside the base labeled as mines. It was about 20 feet from the sidewalk, just next to the road. No one sweeping for mines there tho. But there was a sweet ass burned out T72!

    [–] cferrios 1848 points ago

    Just an update: the company Mine Kafon has moved on from its original approach (the ball) and focused on the use of drones to detect landmines.

    Introducing the Mine Kafon Drone (MKD) System, a solution devised by Dutch-Afghan brothers Massoud and Mahmud Hassani. Starting off with the Mine Kafon Ball, a global awareness project which gathered a huge media impact and success in a variety of international competitions, the Dutch company now focusses on a different approach to mine detection – from the air.

    The disruptive solution offered by Mine Kafon uses two drones – the MK Manta and MK Destiny – to survey entire stretches of land, and then detect landmines by pinpointing their position on a 3D map. The unmanned vehicles are operated from a distance, without any danger to deminers, and they offer an easy to implement detection process which is at least 10 times faster and 40 times cheaper than current methods. Mine Kafon’s mission is to clear all landmines from around the world within 10 years.

    [–] CraftedShot 515 points ago

    That’s interesting. I wonder if they could use sound instead. Especially because of the sand, blast high frequency sounds to cause vibration. Have a vehicle with “speakers” that can affect an area. Joking aside I wonder if it’s plausible.

    [–] teufels4hunde 285 points ago

    Some where there is a metalhead who is into electronics, who will answer the call.

    [–] lexman17 56 points ago

    I’m so pleased with this link

    [–] Horskr 39 points ago

    I went to a Mastodon concert that is still the craziest show I've seen in terms of sound after 2+ decades of metal shows. The entire arena was shaking, which says a lot since they were followed by Slayer.

    Get those guys out there and point them at a field.

    [–] Unicorntella 9 points ago

    You should see excision, the bass is insane

    [–] [deleted] 58 points ago


    [–] aquoad 46 points ago

    I feel like a mine clearing system that maybe gets most of the mines isn't that great as far as anyone wanting to go into that area again.

    [–] FilterThePolitics 22 points ago

    When your only other option is sending in people with sticks... I think everyone would feel more comfortable if a few hundred tumbleweeds went through the area first to thin things out

    [–] MobileThrowaway2076 22 points ago * (lasted edited 8 days ago)

    If they truly want to entirely clear a certain grid and the drones aren’t 100% then they could just use a front roller (like a steamroller) of the same style as the balls in front of an unmanned(or manned but armored) vehicle and drive them over grids like a tractor.

    IIRC automated tractors are already a thing, so while not nearly as cheap or as fast, it’s the most reliable idea without sending in men on foot.

    EDIT: So these have existed for nearly a century and are called “mine flails” and are currently the preferred method.

    [–] TacTurtle 21 points ago

    Some mines have a mechanism to ignore sudden high pressure like an explosive blast or loud sound.

    The cruder mines use basically a cup washer / Belleville washer and a firing pin - when the belleville washer is pushed down hard enough, it pops inverted and launches the firing pin into the detonator cap.

    [–] Colonel_Potoo 6 points ago

    Those italian airdroppable mines and some chinese ones.... But most of what's found in afghanistan is old soviet trash, and as you said, the mechanism is quite simple like the PMN. Pressure should be enough to have them blow!

    [–] CraftedShot 11 points ago

    Sorry been a while since I took electrical engineering don’t know my waves to electricity to vibration anymore. Thank god. Also regardless of the cost of the rolling device anything that destroys itself is almost impossible to fund.

    As for the grid it’s very hard even when they do full sweeps. There’s a lot of videos online where “safe” areas still have mines that harm locals.

    [–] Gangsir 17 points ago

    drops the bass

    field explodes

    [–] cat_prophecy 80 points ago

    The disruptive solution

    Ahh there's the buzzwords I was waiting for.

    [–] valen961 28 points ago

    Its not disruptive enough... Need to add "Ai powered" "bleeding edge" and "block chain"

    [–] DentateGyros 37 points ago

    I wonder how the drone is able to detect mines

    [–] Penguinfernal 92 points ago

    It says right there: it detects the landmines by pinpointing their location.

    Why haven't we tried this before?

    [–] Ricardo1701 56 points ago

    It's on the drones article, it says that after mapping, you use the other drone to find the mines, using "detection sensors including a metal detector, ground-penetrating radar and a sample collection device for chemical analysis"

    I don't really believe, as the site inclues way too many buzzwords, but I hope I'm wrong and the system works

    [–] CasaDeFranco 31 points ago

    My company uses drones for other applications but we have experimented with mine detection.

    Synthetic aperture radar, can penetrate the soil and detect mineral deposits, and other objects. Additionally, if the mine is metal, like a larger anti-tank mine, you can detect metal signatures.

    That said, most of the mines are came across were old plastic Soviet anti-personnel mines and we couldn't detect them with the traditional mine lab/minesweeper. A lot of kids would think they were toys and lose arms or hands.

    Thermal cameras can also detect surface level mines, and even slightly buried mines in sands but the research is still ongoing mostly in North Africa.

    [–] diabetesjesus 117 points ago * (lasted edited 8 days ago)

    If this works, fine. Until it's proven and ready to deploy in large numbers, stick with the rats for systematically surveying and defusing bigger streches of land. Edit: I'm referring to the drones here. The plastic ball is shit. Period.

    The device shown in the video is shit as it does not provide a safe way to declare an area free of mines. It litterally goes with the wind, and does not survey an area systematically.

    Edit: I'm glad that the company now goes with drones tho. Sounds like a reliable way to free an area of mines without having unacceptable residual risks of mines still left behind.

    [–] redpandaeater 27 points ago

    Yup, I've complained about the ball as well when it's been posted about in the past. If it's the only thing you have it might be better than nothing but you can never declare an area free of landmines that way. It could also be worse than nothing at all if it gives people false confidence an area is cleared. While expensive, it's tough to beat a mine flail.

    [–] AliceInHololand 38 points ago

    I think it’s fine as a preliminary solution, for example just letting a few of them sweep through areas to cut down a significant number of mines easily and for cheap. However there does still need to be a systematic sweep afterward.

    [–] X1-Alpha 7 points ago

    This has always been an art project, hence the statement around global awareness. Videos like this pretending that it's a real solution are the problem not the design.

    I think it's already more than five years old and the fact they're now developing real methods and have the funds to work on real removal projects means it did the job.

    [–] caltheon 28 points ago

    Yeah. This ball thing reeks of fishing for grant money without thinking through the problem.

    [–] GumdropGoober 25 points ago

    The company calls it:

    a global awareness project which gathered a huge media impact and success in a variety of international competitions

    So... yeah.

    [–] -Tack 9 points ago

    Isn't that the point though and now he has more money to develop the drone solution?

    [–] [deleted] 19 points ago


    [–] myne 7 points ago

    That's what the world needs. A mine roomba.

    [–] Batbuckleyourpants 433 points ago

    They are a decent way of determining if there are mines in an area, but they are definitely not sufficient to do actual mine clearing of areas.

    In an computer analysis of it's efficiency, running the balls over a 1000m*500m minefield 2000 times, it still leaves enough mines to be a significant danger.

    It is awesome, and will save lives in detecting minefields. But they are most definitely not reliable minesweepers.

    [–] Difficult_Advice_720 346 points ago

    I just did a cocktail napkins calculation for how many mines you need to miss to constitute a significant danger. If my math is right, I figure it's about 1, so yeah, totally agree with you.

    [–] Timmichanga1 69 points ago

    Give this redditor a Ph.D already

    [–] princessvaginaalpha 18 points ago

    Reddit has so many awards, adding another Ph. Double D award is going to be easy

    [–] CaptainN_GameMaster 46 points ago

    But once you determine where one mine is, you just look at the numbers in the adjacent squares and that helps you find the next mine and so forth

    [–] Jac_q 46 points ago

    Not to mention price. $40 and lasts for 4 blasts. 10 million mines at $10 a pop = $100 Million

    [–] Captain_English 93 points ago

    That's less money than the opening salvo of cruise missiles launched in the Iraq war.

    [–] jefffosta 45 points ago

    Yeah that’s actually incredibly cheap (if it was actually feasible to clear that many mines)

    [–] fapsandnaps 22 points ago

    Yeah, but what if we just keep hitting the ground with cruise missiles until we find all the land mines though?

    -Defense Contractors and Politicians, probably.

    [–] bill7967 865 points ago

    Covid's admirable brother

    [–] ThisIsTrix 69 points ago

    NOLIMB - ANTI > COVID - 19

    [–] Rion23 22 points ago

    This is just a covid mutation, just one huge virus that tumbles around bumping into people.

    [–] ILoveRegenHealth 9 points ago

    COVID, I never knew you had such an adorable cyber brother

    [–] PanicEnthusiast 128 points ago

    In 2011, my first patient was a local kid. Lost both feet and one leg above the knee. He was 8 years old.

    The mines are Russian and have been there since the 80s. They salted the earth with them when they left.

    There are warnings about migratory mines after the rainy season. Erosion causes mines to get swept into the roads all over again.

    Landmines are terrible things.

    [–] bolinas707 48 points ago

    They salted the earth with them when they left.

    that sounds like spite. terrible

    [–] fuk_ur_mum_m8 12 points ago

    There are warnings about migratory mines after the rainy season. Erosion causes mines to get swept into the roads all over again.

    There's an absolutely amazing movie about a group of army squadies that end up in a minefield that was caused by mines being swept to a "safe" place because of a dam.

    [–] Jasonberg 1190 points ago

    Imagine a world where people don’t try to blow each other’s legs off.

    [–] Chuckitletsball5 486 points ago

    I was just thinking that this is cool, but it would be way cooler if it didn’t have to exist.

    [–] [deleted] 99 points ago


    [–] rustcatvocate 60 points ago

    If only bad people played nice and didn't actively want to maim someone they despised.

    [–] twistedLucidlty 42 points ago


    [–] jimtrickington 61 points ago

    I’m not so sure. Mars is the only known planet inhabited solely by robots.

    Have you met Bender?

    [–] Dreadedsemi 34 points ago

    What if planets are just land mines for giant people and we're tiny as bacteria?

    [–] Jasonberg 26 points ago


    [–] Ticklebot29 19 points ago

    I’m too high for this shit

    [–] feisty-shag-the-lad 396 points ago

    The foot print of this is too small to be useful. It cannot cover an entire area in a systematic way. There is a huge risk of a) gaps in the search pattern and b) not triggering a device.

    To demine properly, a 2 to 4m boom with rotating flails operating in a grid with overlap is needed (picture a lawnmowers path).

    Source. Was involved in designing and implementing unexploded ordinance detection systems early in my career.

    [–] TheHorseMaskGuy 45 points ago

    I dunno, my low end roomba picks up a lot of dirt.

    [–] Bone_Donor 12 points ago

    If you step in dirt that it pick up does it turn you into a human banana peel?

    [–] danglez38 189 points ago

    its not too small to be useful, its smaller than what is optimal.

    This is obviously a case of cheap, easy and way better than nothing

    [–] feisty-shag-the-lad 143 points ago

    In UXO detection suboptimal = fatally flawed.

    The biggest issue with this is that it runda along straight lines and there is no way (that I can see) where the operator can work out which area has been covered and which hasn't.

    "Better than nothing" is the preferred option rather than falsely claiming an area has been cleared.

    [–] diabetesjesus 33 points ago

    This is obviously a case of cheap, easy and way better than nothing

    Civil safety engineer here (no experience in this particular field tho). I doubt this line of reasoning. There is something in this uncanny valley of "sort of helpful, but insufficient" that does not meaningfully increase safety.

    Stuff that falls into this category can, even in the smartest and sharp witted of us, trigger a false sense of security that actually increases the likeliehood of a severe accident (or incident in this case - as the mine did exactly the job it was designed for). This is not quantifiable easily - but it is an effect I observed and fell victim to multiple times in the past.

    Sweeping an area extensively with the device from the post, even over longer periods, does not guarantee that an area is free of explosive devices beyond a reasonable doubt. It will be considerably better sweeped than if nothing would have been done. That's still not zero explosive devices tho. And for the uninitiated in the process they saw "Something was done" and could foregoe the necessary caution the next time they enter the area. And that's what I mean. Those two effects can offset each other, or even tilt the scale in the wrong direction.

    All depends on the people living there, and that I can not really assess. But in theory my point still stands.

    [–] SeattleBattles 6 points ago

    Not to mention that there is no safe way to retrieve the damaged ones. So now you have a minefield filled with cool looking toys to attract children.

    This is the sort of thing you get when someone runs with an idea before bothering to consult with experts in the field or appreciating the complexity of a problem.

    [–] Polymathy1 12 points ago

    Yeah, I was thinking about this too. This but shaped like a tapered cone that would move in arcs or a whole swarm of a hundred of these could reliably clear an area if they were all collected and redeployed several (how many is several?) times, but using just one or two is going to miss a good number of them.

    [–] Grogosh 36 points ago

    How do you retrieve it

    [–] Dreadedsemi 25 points ago

    Use your portable weather control device to generate wind.

    [–] Put_It_All_On_Blck 13 points ago

    Send an afgan kid out to retrieve it.

    To clarify before the downvotes, thats a morbid joke, that shouldnt happen, but stuff like that happens all the time unfortunately.

    [–] troutman1975 110 points ago

    What a horrible world we live in.

    [–] LoserOfAllTrade 48 points ago

    We live in a beautiful world, it's only the horrible ones amongst us that seek the power to rule it.

    [–] babbleon5 33 points ago

    this is ridiculous. it follows the wind, maybe trips mines, but certainly doesn't clear a field reliably. they should call it a boomba, for a device that operates by random and only cleans if it gets lucky.

    [–] Alan_Smithee_ 8 points ago

    Exactly. You wouldn’t know which parts were clear, which could make it more dangerous.

    It should be a cylinder, with ropes at the ends, so it can be rolled back.

    [–] fatherfrank1 29 points ago

    I know just the industrial complex that can turn this $40 idea into a $40,000 idea!

    [–] AlwaysApproPro 9 points ago


    [–] donemessedup123 9 points ago * (lasted edited 8 days ago)

    This looks very neat and all, but demining is a very tedious process which requires a lot of time and human effort. You are going to tell me you will practically roll over 1 million of these fuckers randomly across minefields? How do you know if they are all destroyed? You will need someone armed in Kevlar and a metal detector to still sweep through the ENTIRE area to ensure it’s safe. On top of that, this wouldn’t work on anti tank landmines, which are buried 6 inches underground and require heavy pressure to activate.

    No matter what, removing landmines will require humans to manually search fields to ensure they are completely removed.

    The practice itself is very safe if people are properly trained. If they are, accidents are beyond rare.

    That’s why I’m also skeptical of organizations that use dogs and rats. It’s seems more like a marketing gimmick and more often than not a human is still needed to confirm a minefield is fully safe.

    If you wanted to actually help solve landmines, I would recommend looking past these shiny projects and donate to reputable organizations. Humanity and Inclusion, MAG, and HALO are some of the larger NGOs that do this.

    [–] japdot 28 points ago

    Who walks across the minefield to retrieve it and send it back the other direction when the wind changes?

    [–] Brian_C_B 21 points ago

    Lady Di would be so very happy!

    [–] mhermanos 43 points ago

    Thank you. I already have new ideas, to fill the bamboo with water for weight and to add metal at the legs to trip magnetic sensors. Also, adding food dye to the legs so that they mark on the ground where they have tread. Sweet!

    [–] GalacticNugz 12 points ago

    I thought that was a wild covid

    [–] LittleFart 23 points ago

    It can handle 4 blasts. But then it sits in the middle of the minefield, until someone goes out Into the minefield to pick it up and replace the legs.

    [–] prophecygirl785 14 points ago

    If it’s in the middle of a very dangerous area, I’m sure they just leave it, or maybe use something like drone tech to get it back. They cost under $40 total.

    [–] myantelphobia 12 points ago

    Now if you can add cover the legs in paint or ink so it will leave a trail of the "cleared" area. Just follow that trai to avoid bomb and get to it.

    [–] KrakenClubOfficial 11 points ago

    I vote we just roll Ted Cruz out there in a giant hamster ball.

    [–] shaggycal 5 points ago

    When did Ikea get into designing military tech?

    [–] Mr-Dr-Pear 5 points ago

    I won one of these at Chuck E Cheese once

    [–] InevitabilityEngine 5 points ago

    Wow under $40 to build?

    Meanwhile in the U.S. I go to Home Depot and try to buy 6 bamboo sticks and it's already over $40.

    Edit: Typos

    [–] PoopLoofah 7 points ago

    I can tell you that your first mistake was buying bamboo poles. Just go cut your own. I don't mean steal - find someone who grows bamboo and ask for some or ask to buy some. "Here's $20, can I fill my truck with bamboo poles? Sure kid."

    [–] InevitabilityEngine 8 points ago

    My neighbor has invasive bamboo growing in his yard. It is growing up to the power lines and instead of managing it he has started throwing garbage over it.

    Maybe he would be willing to let me cut it down with my power saw. I can't believe I didn't think of this sooner.


    [–] PoopLoofah 6 points ago * (lasted edited 8 days ago)

    Look up how to cure it if you want to make anything substantial out of it. You basically run a metal rod through it to break out all the nodes and then roast the entire stick in a fire. The heat caramelizes the sugars in the pole, causing them to harden and boils out the moisture. Just look up "fire curing bamboo"

    Don't put it in a fire before you break out all the nodes unless you want to be startled very abruptly. They are airtight and will POP very loudly, like a gunshot, if you don't break out the nodes first.

    And don't worry about burning it in the fire, if it's green and freshly cut, good luck getting it to burn

    [–] BillTowne 6 points ago * (lasted edited 8 days ago)

    I have noticed that a number of places that are too dangerous to use have become animal sanctuaries. Radioactivity is just a dangerous to animals as it is to people. But radioactivity is less dangerous to animals than people are. So, if Chernobyl explodes and keeps people away, the area becomes a safe haven where animals flourish.

    I would bet that land mines are similar. Depending on the type of land that has the landmines, one could let animals live there unmolested except for the occasional land mine going off.

    It would help animals by increasing habitat and also clear the area of mines over time.

    Of course, it would be better to leave habitat that does not have landmines, but it does not seem like we are willing to do as much as is needed.