Article Image
IPFS News Link • Drones

These brothers built a mine-sweeping drone

•, By Coby McDonald

Brothers Massoud and Mahmud Hassani grew up in Kabul, Afghanistan, knowing that one wrong step could end their lives. "When we walked to school, we had a special path to follow—otherwise we would end up in a minefield," Massoud says. Mines are cheap to manufacture and deploy, but slow and expensive to remove. An estimated 110 million land mines litter the globe, killing 15,000 to 20,000 ­people a year. Living among them "becomes like a mental disorder," Massoud says. "The fear is on your mind all the time."

After the Hassani family relocated to the Netherlands, the brothers created an ­anti-mine device based on a ­wind-powered tumbleweed toy they'd built as children. The Mine Kafon (kafon means "explode" in Dari) could roll through a minefield, detonating any mines it crossed and thus marking out a safe path. Though more conceptual than practical, it became a hit; New York's Museum of Modern Art even bought one in 2012.