Kickstarter campaign propels demining drone high into the sky

Now Mine Kafon flies

Published in Main stories by

A few years ago Design Academy graduate Massoud Hassani took the world by storm with his design of the Mine Kafon, a demining device on wind power. Now Hassani together with his brother Mahmud, introduce the Mine Kafon Drone. And once again, the design is met with both overwhelming enthusiasm and scepticism.

With eight days to go a Kickstarter-campaign for the Mine Kafon Drone, a new mine detection and destruction device by the Hassani-brothers, has already received over 150.000 euros in pledges, more than double the target.

The Afghan brothers worked three years on the Mine Kafon Drone, an unmanned airborne demining system that uses a three step process to map a piece of land, and detect and detonate the land mines hidden in the ground. The Hassani’s claim their demining drone is up to 20 times faster than currently available technologies, while causing less casualties under demining personnel. Their bold goal is to clear the globe from land mines in ten years.

Continuous interest

Since Massoud Hassani as a Design Academy Eindhoven student got interested in the immense problem of land mine proliferation and the many casualties that caused by land mines – 110 million mines dispersed over the world; 10 people killed or maimed by land mines every day – the issue has never left him.

His initial wind powered device, based on the toys Hassani used to make during childhood, met with both acclaim and criticism. The design was incorporated in design exhibitions throughout the world including MoMA in New York, but also criticized for not offering a real solution to the land mine problem.

Hassani, however, kept experimenting with incorporating GPS location, as well as different forms of rolling devices with remote controlled electric engine power. Eventually he turned to drone technology, developing a device that maps a piece of land, then with the help of a metal detector locates the mines and finally can place a small detonating device on top that destroys the mine.

Stretched goals

Only ten days after the launch of the Kickstarter campaign the goal of 70.000 euros for further development and testing of the Mine Kafon Drone was reached. A new goal of 130.000 euros to increase battery life to up to 3 hours was reached not much later. For the remaining days the goal is stretched to 190.000 euros to equip the drone with a more sensitive detector. Tests are planned for next spring and deployment of the drone in the first country in the summer.

Not for plastic mines

In reaction to a recent newspaper story on the project in a regional newspaper Dutch design journalist Marc Vlemmings wrote that the idea of a demining drone is not unique since there are several other projects in development. He also warns for the fact that metal detectors can’t detect plastic mines, developed to remain undetectable.

Although Vlemmings might have a point there, it seems not entirely fair to disqualify the on going determination of Hassani to find a solution for a huge social issue like land mines. That is not a problem solved easily and the fact that others are working on the same problem is only more promising.

Hassani is also criticized for now asserting that his first Mike Kafon design was only meant to get attention for the issue. Although he seemed to believe quite genuinely in his project at the time, the giant plush sphere did bring the issue into the museum. Should Hassani at the time have said he wasn’t serious about his project?


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