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Giant wind-blown ball rolls around and detonates landmines

A childhood toy inspires a wind-powered minesweeper that could help clear the millions of active landmines buried around the globe.

Mine Kafon detonates
A demonstration of the Mine Kafon.
Video screenshot by Amanda Kooser/CNET

There are 110 million active landmines strewn across 64 countries around the world, according to the United Nations, leading to thousands of people being killed or maimed every year. Huge stretches of land are danger zones. Clearing those areas is a hazardous and delicate operation that puts people at great risk.

Afghanistan-born designer Massoud Hassani has come up with an unusual minesweeper that uses the wind to propel itself in a search for landmines. The Mine Kafon is made from bamboo and biodegradable plastics. The plastic feet push against the ground, triggering landmines with pressure.

The ball is light enough to get blown around by the wind, allowing people to steer clear of a potential danger zone. A GPS tracker in each one keeps a map of areas that have been cleared. Each ball can potentially detonate several landmines before it is too damaged to continue.

The Mine Kafor was inspired by wind-propelled toys Hassani used to make as a child, including a small rolling object. The balls could be an invaluable tool in clearing mines and making the world a little safer. Sometimes great creations come from simple ideas.

Check out the teaser trailer for an upcoming documentary about Hassani and his Mine Kafon.

(Via the Daily Mail)