Minds Clearing Land Mines: Are you as smart as a rat?

Okay, what's a new low-tech way to clear land mines?

Hello!  We are glad you stopped by to visit our site.

Are you as smart as a rat?

If so, bring your low-tech, innovative ideas to MINDS CLEARING LAND MINES.

  • Wars end but buried land mines become the surprise gifts that keep on giving.
  • Angola alone has 6 million hidden, unexploded ordnance.
  • It costs $3 to plant a land mine and $300-$1,000 to get rid of it.
  • HeroRATs have been trained to sniff out land mines but additional low-tech detection solutions are needed.
  • One small idea could potentially prompt one large step for mankind.

The Problem
How to effectively detect and destroy/deactivate land mines through means that can be easily and inexpensively deployed.

The Solution
Get people involved in thinking of creative ways to solve the problem of land mines in an affordable, readily available way.

Why we think this can be accomplished
Creative problem solvers don’t necessarily have to be experts to solve problems.  Orville and Wilbur Wright owned a bicycle repair shop, yet they invented the airplane.  More recently, students were asked to develop an inexpensive blood centrifuge for use in third world countries.  They modified a simple salad spinner to hold blood vials.  This world contains a lot of talented people whose creativity has not yet been tapped.

Why we think this should be accomplished
Land mines kill and injure civilians and render land impassable and unusable for decades.  They exist in over 60 countries around the globe from Belgium to Egypt and Angola to Cambodia.   Flat terrain can sequester them.  Hilly terrain can, too.  Mines can be hidden by soil or overgrowth.  It has been estimated, that with the currently available eradication techniques, it will take 1,000 – 2,000 years to rid the world of the landmines already in place.

Land mines are designed to maim and kill.  They activate based on weight, trip wires or both.  Some bounce up to shoulder height and spray sharp objects over a distance of 200 meters or less.  Others detonate below waist level.  Land mines do their job 24/7 without discrimination.  Land mine eradication requires detection and thereafter safe detonation or deactivation.

Join our community of MINDS CLEARING LAND MINES and share your ideas.


About mindsclearinglandmines
Minds Clearing Land Mines is an online community for learning about the global land mine clearance problem and sharing ideas to solve that problem. Author Laurel Anne Hill moderates the blog, as well as the Minds Clearing Landmines Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002526167943.

10 Responses to Minds Clearing Land Mines: Are you as smart as a rat?

  1. Hi I had an idea / invention to safely to clear land mines, and was told to submit my idea here? I hope this is correct, I am a University science degree student and have only just had this idea, but it seem’s importent to tell someone,,, Basically the idea is a ‘Anti-landmine device’ which contains a implosion to cancel out the explosion,,, i.e. The device is a ‘Potential Implosion’ and the device is placed next to a (landmine) potential explosion,,,, I.e. when / if the landmine explodes (with high pressure), the device next it implodes with (extreme low pressure) nuetralizing the situation; the explosive force is more likely to travel towards the sudden low pressure area, than the person.

    The device (low pressure implosion) could be triggered with a thin skin, i.e. if the landmine explodes, then shrapnell? debris, force of explosion it’self will rip thin skin of device container holding low pressure area, exposing low
    pressure area to high pressure from land mine explosion… the two should cancel each other out, neutralize the problem… i.e. a ‘explosion’ plus a ‘implosion’ equals nuetral….. ….

    The explosion could safely happen in front of a person but it’s fire ball would look like it was suddenly changed in direction and dragged off to one side, (safely) without touching the person who is litrally standing next to the landmine explosion, ..

    The low pressure implosion would have a vacuum effect like a ‘madenburg hemisphere’, (two metal semi spheres stuck together with the air sucked out), creating a vacuum and low pressure difference, so when it was opened to the air, then the air from the outside world would suddenly rush in to the opened sphere, at great speed !!!…. This is the effect needed,,,

    Normally a landmine may explode in all directions due to ‘equal’ external air pressure.. This device changes that surrounding air pressure to ‘unequal’ air pressure, guiding the explosion safely away… Additionally another invention I had along the same lines, would be a Micro device version, hundreds of mini nano (implosion) devices may line a ‘suit’ to make a ‘anti-explosion suit’, that could absorb most of the explosive force into the ‘unequal low pressure’ areas in the suit.. possibly saving a persons life hopefully…. ..

  2. Colin King says:

    Sorry, but this is an absolute non-starter. The main reason is that high explosive (HE) produces immense pressures, vast amounts of gas (typically >10,000 times original volume) and a very destructive shockwave. It’s really important to understand these characteristics before making any suggestions on countermeasures.
    Two further issues are the supersonic fragmentation and the fundamental issue of locating the mines in the first place. The latter is the greatest challenge – disposing of mines once they’re found is really the easy bit.

  3. Kali says:

    Hi, sorry, I can see why this idea won’t work, and is a non-starter,,,Sorry, I made a error here; I should have done what you said first and understood the characteristics of why this idea won’t work, ,,,,and if do have any idea’s in future; should i just contact you directly, for advice,thanks.

  4. rithysen says:

    hi, great website by da way. i’m actually khmer (cambodian) i’ve been to cambodia many times & it breaks my heart to see my people suffer from land mines. i’m an engineering student & i’ve “day dreamed” of devices that will get rid of land mines all the time. i’ve discuss ideas with many people & i’ve come up with some ideas. one idea was for a device that can work in all the terrain of cambodia from flat farm land to the jungle & mountainS.

    my device is a type of “rolling ball” that weighs about from 60-90 kgs, basicly using a delivery system it roll at potential mine spots. at it’s weight it will hopefully trigger any potential land mines. when it explodes a mine there won’t be much damage to the “rolling ball” & it can be used over again & again. my design of the “rolling ball” won’t cost nothing to make especially it 3rd world countries like cambodia. i’m working on designs at the moment, soon i will make one of these “rolling ball” & actually go to cambodia for field trials.

    this device is call “RITHYSEN”, rithysen is a cambodian folk hero who survives an ogre attack who destroyed his family. rithysen comes up with a plan that destroys the ogre & saves many more lives & bring peace to the land. i think “RITHYSEN” is an appropriate name.

  5. rithysen says:

    hi, the rithysen is mainly in my head at the moment. i’ve looked at other devices like the mine kafon. other devies dat interest me are ones that send “shock waves” or “electrical pulses” to trigger the mine to explode. but i’m not sure about those. i need more field info. i need to think about the seasonal changes to the land/soil. in the monsoon month the ground is soft & wet. other times it hot & the ground is more solid. the easiest to build is the rithysen. because mosts mines in cambodia is weight pressure triggered.

    the rithysen is basicley given a “strong push” (or can be shot out) using a portable canon like device across a potential land mined area. like i say hopefully with da weight & design of it it will hit land mines in its way. kind of like a glorified canon ball. cordoned of an area & make sure the rithysen has run over every square inch of the cordoned area. then move to the next area. using 10 rithysen at the same time can cover alot of area.

    for jungle & mountainous terrain, i was thinking of changing the size of the rithysen (making it smaller) but it still keeps a heavy weight to pressure trigger the mine.

    i’ve got other ideas in my head but i want to try out the rithysen first. i’m tinkering with the design at the moment. i’ll start building models & test it out in the field to see how it goes. i need to see what happens when an explosion happens ( potential damage to device, shrapnel, effect on enironment etc…..)

    it amazes me that we can send people in to space. but we can’t get rid of land mines that are making lives dangerous for half the world’s population.

    • kali says:

      Hi, Just a quick idea, a ‘Roll out matt’, made of metal rungs (widthways) and 2 steel cables running lengthways, bit like a train track structure, the matt begins rolled up, and is held up by a person at a hieght above the head to gain potential energy, and then lowered quickly and unrolled in one move, unrolled to a length of about 10 meters, and half a meter in width. The rolled out matt, would represent a clear area, the length ways structure of the steel cable, means the matt will be able to bend and flex easily when explosion occurs underneath it, making it last longer by defualt, by the way it easily handles the force structuraly… A matt with a tough sheet added on the base of it, could be used to gather samples for anlysis, i.e. left over bits imbeded in the tough sheet on the base of the matt, from land mines exploding underneath it, a carbon nano fibre sheet maybe?…. Another idea, for a quick easy check, a steel cable that is used like a whip with a side to side motion (snake like) to scour a pathway shaped area of about ten meters long by half a meter wide in one go,,, although manual,, this same motion could be replicated with a machine, that sends out the steel cable in front of it, keeping it moving accross the surface of the ground constantly five to ten meters in front and a meter wide side to side, a bit like a lawnmower with a moving steel snake in front of it. Structurally the steel cable will easily move with the force and easily cope and last…

    • Keeping track of all those “square inches” the Rithysen covered or didn’t cover would be essential. This would mean knowing where the Rithysen actually rolled, as well as areas where rocks or heavy plant growth deflected the device and it never contacted that section of ground.

  6. rithysen says:


    yeah i know what you mean, i told my professor about my idea. so he put a couple of basketballs on the ground & he showed where the ball actually touched the ground. only a small surface area of the ball actually touched the ground. so with the rithysen i had to work on the design to cover as much ground as possible. when the rithysen rolls it leaves visible marks on the ground to show where it has been. there’s also a retreival system, so that after it rolls out over the cordoned area. i can retreive it back to roll it out again.

    as for your scenario, i think the deminer will have to check those area out.

    i’ll start building some models, do some tests runs. sort out the nuts & bolts. find out the costs. i’ll use materials that is widely available and cheap to source in cambodia to built the rithysen.

    thanks for your feedback

  7. Best of luck to you on the Rithysen. Please keep us informed of your progress. And if you use Facebook, there’s a Minds Clearing Landmines Facebook page. Please “friend” us.

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