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Robot Mine Smasher

Hemos posted more than 12 years ago | from the crack-smash-bushwhack dept.

Technology 199

A reader writes " Robotsotre had a link to a Japanese story about a new landmine-hunting robot that covers the mine with a protective dome and then smashes it with a high-velocity hydraulic piston. The company's called Cos Co, the robot is 3.5m long, and the cost about $75K (USD). Robot mine hunter does job quietly Not that I know much about landmines, but does this mean the detonator cap is smashed without detonating? Or separated from the explosives before it can?" As this article also points out, this will help remove mines in Afghanistan, which after 20 years of war has more then a few around.

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Calculus Mine Smasher (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3006162)

Does a much better job, using integration. Rasie the roof for integration!


L.Torvalds (548450) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006175)

Just use Afghan kids and farm animals. They find them alright! Sometimes, they find 2! And since they are not worth the fucking air they breath, you keep costs low!!!


offtopic (-1, Troll)

mirko (198274) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006164)

USAF mine afghanistan with mines that look like food boxes, thus mutilating children...
and when will the USA definitily stop using mines ?

moderator on crack (0, Flamebait)

mirko (198274) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006242)

This was not a troll but indeed something offtopic that a *mindless* pro-american have decided to hide from the common-sensed people around!

How may you praise antimining devices ?

maybe because your military-weapon-lobbyists will increase their gains by not only sending these but also such devices.

moderators are morons.
moderation is moronism (aka "political correctness").
I unchecked the willing to moderate box one year ago

BTW: this is flamebait, yes, but a moderator made it.

Re:moderator on crack (-1)

Deleted (301806) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006251)

u r idiot replies yes dumb fucks engilsh no spek stop post u k? leart engrish u r k post stupid gook kthx!?

eviv bulgroz (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3006259)

ta mere etait bien plus polie avec moi quand je lui ai defonce l'anus avant-hier soir.
depuis elle m'a quitte pour un chien et te voila, fruit de son union contre nature.
j'espere que tu aboyes comme tu tapes, je pourrais te vendre tres cher a un zoo.

Re:eviv bulgroz (1)

Elgon (234306) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006404)

Eh, tu n'es pas le seul qui parle francais ici mon petit: Alors, va te faire foutre d'ailleurs...

Quel connard!

Re:eviv bulgroz (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3006473)

c ki strouduk ?
ta mere elle chausse du deux, tapette-a-karma !

Re:offtopic (-1)

dadaist (544022) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006293)

New moderation needed: -1, Un-American


Re:offtopic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3006481)

This is true, but the USAF is dropping cluster bombs all over Afghanistan. Many of these bombs do not full explode, effectively mining the land with small yellow bombs which look pretty similar to the small yellow food packets. In other news, did you know that more Afghan civilians have now died as a result of the American action than Americans died on September 11th?
Americas action is racist, it is clear that Afghan civilians ('colateral damage') have no worth in the eyes of the US, whilst Western people do ('Terrorist outrage')

Great news (1, Insightful)

XiC (207670) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006165)

Good to hear this is really what tech is surposed to do.

Re:Great news (2, Insightful)

zoccav (242377) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006237)

Good to hear this is really what tech is surposed to do.

I understand and appreciate your positive statement.

However, I disagree on your words. IMO tech is supposed to be constructive. Both the mines and the robot aren't.

Although it's a good thing that probably less people will get mutilated by mines with this robot, I dread the instant where laying mines becomes a less severe crime because of the robot.

Re:Great news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3006385)

Since when is making land safe for people to live on not constructive?

any pics ? (0)

rednuhter (516649) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006170)

I would like to see its, any pics any1 ?

Another job for... (5, Funny)

gTsiros (205624) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006172) mindstorms!!!

forget the robotic lego rubik cube solver! This is the REAL DEAL!

Imagine small khaki-colored legos going into actual battle.

-the lego death squad


Re:Another job for... (1)

phagstrom (451510) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006221)

Imagine small khaki-colored legos going into actual battle.

-the lego death squad

I'm thinking "fluffy bunnies" from "Full Throttle".... *evil grin*

Re:Another job for... (5, Funny)

Gid1 (23642) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006232)

I can't remember who, but someone suggested killing two birds with one stone: when the British government is slaughtering herds/flocks/whatever of cows/sheep/whatever for possibility of BSE/Foot-n-Mouth/whatever, just get them to send the animals to graze in a minefield, instead =)

Re:Another job for... (2, Funny)

shut_up_man (450725) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006276)

It's a card game from Cheapass Games called Unexploded Cow []

From the site:
You and your friends have discovered two problems with a common solution: Mad Cows in England and Unexploded Bombs in France. You've decided to bring these two powderkegs together just to see what happens. And you wouldn't say "no" to a little money on the side. So round up your herd, march them through France, and set them loose behind the Cordon Rouge. If you're lucky you'll come home rich before Greenpeace gets hold of you. Either way, there's something magical about blowing up cows.

Lego = Perfect (5, Funny)

isaac_akira (88220) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006335)

Everytime the bot gets blown up they can just snap it back together.

Though in solving the problem of stepping on landminds you will be CAUSING the problem of stepping on Lego pieces while walking barefoot through the fields at night. "Ouch!! Goddammit!!!"

silly way.... (2, Interesting)

thorgil (455385) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006176)

Why detonate the mine when you can put it on fire without any explosion.
Most explosives can burn without exploding.
A simple burning bullet might do the trick.
The problem is often not disarming the mine but finding it.


Re:silly way.... (1)

thorgil (455385) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006205)

ok... the piston-method might not detonate the mine but in a lot of cases, landmines have some sort of quicksilver-trigger to make it boobytrapped.
Hitting such a mine will surely detonate it.
(if speed 3 m/s)

More sofisticated anti-tank mines, with magnetic field response etc, buried deep down will be quite hard to hit with the piston.

Re:silly way.... (5, Informative)

Hoyceman (452009) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006266)

Having spent some time learning bomb disposel myself when I was in the military, that statement is not entirely true. What an explosive needs to detonate is heat and pressure, so a burning bullet will make it explode. If you place plastic explosive in a fire, it does just bubble and smoke, but if you hit it with a hammer(or a bullet) while it is in the fire it will detonate.

As far as destroying the mines with a hydrolic piston, there are plenty of types of land mines that I know of where this would be a great solution. Lots of land mines aren't created to take a lot of shock, and one way the army can dispose of them is by setting our own explosive charges. If you could hit the land mine fast enough and in the right spot this could be a great way to do it.

Lastly, I can also think of a few types of landmines where this isn't going to work at all. And unless it uses a density sensor instead of a metal detector it might not even pick up a wider range of mines. There are more wooden and plastic landmines with no metal in them than people would think. So overall I think it's a good idea, but shooting it with a burning bullet is asking for trouble.

Mod this up! (2)

ArcSecond (534786) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006390)

Finally, someone who knows what they are talking about.

Finding the unexploded ordnance is the tricky bit, but it's nice to know the demolition/deactivation tech is being developed. I also heard about a high-pressure water disruptor cannon for bomb disposal a couple of years ago, so this must be the same principle? (ie: smash device before it can trigger and detonate)

Of course the REAL reason land mines are so costly to remove is because they are usually deployed without ANY thought to how they will be recovered.

Putting aside the issue of civilian casualties, the forces who deploy these weapons should be responsible for paying for their clean up. Maybe they they'd keep better deployment records and maps, and avoid the use of air-deployed mines.

I can only think of a few ways in which you could use mines legitimately (Fort Knox, nuclear power stations, max. security prisons, etc.) and only then when they are in areas that are clearly marked. Putting mines in areas used by civilians is negligent to the point of evil.

Re:silly way.... (1)

cow ninja (306125) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006570)

>What an explosive needs to detonate is heat and pressure

Also having served as an Ammo guy in the US Marine Corps, I thought it was friction and heat. Not that there is much differance anyway..

Re: plastic explosive (1)

bovril (260284) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006613)

I always thought that plastic explosive's big selling point was that it used an electrical trigger. You can drop it, throw it, mould it in to any shape you want and it won't go off... not until you run an electric charge through it. I even thought you could shoot it and it wouldn't explode. Or is it the combination of fire *and* pressure that sets it off in this case?

Just curious.

Re:silly way.... (1)

Elgon (234306) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006347)

A couple of points: I don't think that they're going to detonate the mine - $10,000 is a lot to pay for a suicidal robot.

Many expolosives do indeed burn without exploding, including most of the types used in this kind of application: On the other hand the type of explosive used in the detonator or percussion cap (such as lead styphnate) will most certainly not burn without exploding and it will then set off the main charge as is its job. Set fire to this and you might as well detonate the sod.

On the other hand (and I'm guessing here that they mean 3 km/s and NOT 3m/s as 3 m/s isn't very fast at all, about a fast walk) if you smash the mine into little pieces very fast then the flash (if any) from the cap won't be able to sufficiently ignite the charge to go kaboom.


"Fast" "hammer"? (5, Interesting)

Cyclops (1852) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006178)

They say "The hammer can strike mines at velocities of up to three meters per second.".

So, that's 3m*60s*60m = 10800m/h = 10.8 km/h.

That's fast? I smell some misinformation in here.

How 'bout 10Kg @ 3m/s in your face? (0, Offtopic)

bartwol (117819) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006223)

That's a 10 kilogram hammer striking your face at 3 meters per second, after which you would ask, "Why was that so slow?"

I don't think so.

You may one day become a genuine skeptic if you can find a way to point that skeptical eye at your own uncritical thinking.


I smell moderation abuse (2)

Arker (91948) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006245)

The parent comment is currently at (Score:0, Troll). It is not a troll, it is completely accurate.

From the article:

The mine is then crushed by a hydraulically operated hammer positioned beneath the cowl, but it does not explode, because of the hammer's high velocity, the company said. The hammer can strike mines at velocities of up to three meters per second.

That cannot be correct. A metre or meter is roughly a yard, so "three meters per second" is about 9 feet per second. By comparison, the bullet from a .45 acp, one of the slowest rounds fired from modern firearms, can do 1000 feet per second or more, and many rifle rounds will break 3000fps. Shooting mines is known to set them off, not to disarm them safely because of the high velocity of the bullet. "Three meters per second" is simply not high velocity, by any standard that would seem to fit the context.

This could be a typo, a translation error, or simply a case of information having been mangled by a reporter who didn't have a clue what he was talking about, but it definately does look like some incorrect information.

As to the moderation of the parent post... be looking for this joker on meta-mod folks. And if you have mod points today, bump it up a point or two please.

Re:I smell moderation abuse (2)

TooTallFourThinking (206334) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006381)

It's been a while since I took Physics, but I would like to know what the momentum of this device. A bullet has a small mass so the momentum generated by the explosion can cause fast speeds. But trying to move a heavy object fast nearly instantly is more of a challenge. Hence cars that can accelerate from 0 to 60 in however many seconds makes some people water in their mouths.

If the hammer weights at least 100 times that of a bullet with a velocity of 3 meters per second, the momentum exceeds that of a bullet. If I am doing the math correctly in my head. ;)

But I seem to remember stories pop up every couple of months with a new land mine detection/removal system. And I haven't seen anything about the 50 to 100 million land mines around the world being removed. (I got that number from Scientific America Frontier on PBS last night. I couldn't believe it. But if you can't trust PBS, who can you trust?)

Re:I smell moderation abuse (1)

psychofox (92356) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006478)

They could be meaning 3 miles / second. But that seems equally improbably since it equates to 10800mph, or ~ mach 15

Re:"Fast" "hammer"? (2)

hyoo (155460) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006254)

That is roughly the speed a hammer would be falling after you dropped it 1/2 a meter. If this 'hammer' has a fair amount of mass then it will definitly have enough force to set off the mine. Of course I don't think the purpose of this device is to shatter the mine.

ultra fast projectiles (2)

purduephotog (218304) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006587)

Awhile back there was a bit of research into high speed projectiles for busting up concrete. The soft plastic projectile was accelerated by helium piston (about 3 meters tall) downward. When striking it was able to cleanly break a piece of concrete in excess of 1foot thick.

The technology of getting ultra high speed projectiles over short distance isn't anything new- have you ever seen what a 3 mile/sec plastic ring can do to a block of aluminum (sorry, this photo sticks in my head) - it peeled it back like the shots of Doc Edington did in Stopping Time - a 1foot x 1foot x 1foot block was about 80% empty after the impact.

So getting the speeds aren't that terribly difficult and firing the 'bullets' only would need gas and a way of powering the ultrasonic pressure waves....

We just aren't used to having items travel that fast ;P Just remember- it's over a very short distance, so air resistance doesn't start to build up.

Kewl! (0)

K1erck (558779) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006179)

I was just telling my friend that technology is way over rated sometimes. This is a fine instance where it is not. I just dont see how it could be silent however.

Slash dorks (-1)

Commienst (102745) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006236)

Those bastards finally fixed page lengthening. What cocks. They have to ruin trolldom thusly and rob us of our glory! They will never win. There will come a troll who will reak more havoc than they ever could fathom. His name will be Commienst.

Now for some nigger jokes.

What do you call a nigger with a Harvard education?

There is a nigger and a spic in a car, who's driving?
The cop.

Why is Stevie Wonder always smiling?
He doesn't know he's black.

How long does it take a nigger bitch to take a shit?
9 months.

Why don't nigger women wear panties to picnics?
To keep the flies off the chicken.

Why does Alabama have niggers and California have earthquakes?
California got first pick.

Re:Slash dorks (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3006536)

have they fixed page widening though?

Re:Slash dorks (-1)

Commienst (102745) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006574)

Dunno. They just mod you down though to -1 and not many slash dorks have hairs on their chests. The bronze chested wussies are scared to browse -1.

Re:Kewl! (2, Funny)

haffi (21074) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006393)

I comes with its own librarian.

Official 9-11 Story Impossible (-1)

Commienst (102745) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006185)

Russian Air Force Chief Says
Official 9-11 Story Impossible

[Posted 13 September 2001]

As one considers the terrible events of Sept. 11 and observes U.S. media reaction, so pervasive and consistently military that it appears choreographed, doubts increase. The following is from, a Russian language Website (politically centrist, nationalist). In some places the English translation is confusing, so we added alternate phrasing in brackets.
- Jared Israel

[Start report from Russia] "Generally it is impossible to carry out an act of terror on the scenario which was used in the USA yesterday." This was said by the commander-in-chief of the Russian Air Force, Anatoli Kornukov. "We had such facts [i.e., events or incidents] too", - said the general straightforwardly. Kornukov did not specify what happened in Russia and when and to what extent it resembled the events in the US. He did not advise what was the end of air terrorists' attempts either.

But the fact the general said that means a lot. As it turns out the way the terrorists acted in America is not unique. The notification and control system for the air transport in Russia does not allow uncontrolled flights and leads to immediate reaction of the anti-missile defense, Kornukov said. "As soon as something like that happens here, I am reported about that right away and in a minute we are all up," - said the general. [End report from Russia.]

Pasted from: The Emperor's New Clothes []

Robot Wars (1)

phil_atk (545228) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006186)

It won't be long before the house robots on robot wars join forces with this creation to form an unstoppable force. As long as the enemy forgets to dig a flame pit, and are slower than 5 mph.....

[OT] Re:Robot Wars (1)

Boss, Pointy Haired (537010) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006262)

Robot Wars got boring when it became apparaent that a small wedge shaped robot with self righting capabilities and loads of torque would beat anything.

Re:[OT] Re:Robot Wars (2)

shogun (657) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006512)

Robot Wars got boring when it became apparaent that a small wedge shaped robot with self righting capabilities and loads of torque would beat anything.

True, however what happens when a small wedge shaped robot with self righting capabilities and loads of torque met another small wedge shaped robot with self righting capabilities and loads of torque?

How does it move? (3, Interesting)

smaughster (227985) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006196)

One of the things that I miss is how such a robot would move around. Mines usually aren't all hidden in easy accesible places on a road, so how does this droid come to the mines? Let's hope that the test version did not count on human beings carrying it. I can already imagine 10 people lifting this piece of iron, lugging it towards the mines when suddenly one of them hears a click under his foot.

"Sorry Jim, but we're going to defuse the bomb through your foot. This will only hurt a bit."

Re:How does it move? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3006208)

This sure beats the way they defuse mines in Somalia. There they send small negro children running to play across the fields every day until all the mines are exploded. This robot sounds like it's a lot more efficient, although sacrificing negros may still be cheaper to justify in Africa.

Re:How does it move? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3006291)

Actually, most mines are put in easily accessable places. Most mines are places to stop/slow down troop movements. Mines are placed where you expect people to travel. Mines are also placed to protect the perimeter of military installations, but then again, most of these will also be placed where the enemy is likely to be attacking from.

There will, of course, be some mines in some hard to reach places. In these cases the mine hunter/destroyer may not be suitable, but in the majority of cases it would be.

Re:How does it move? (1)

ryepup (522994) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006567)

Mines usually aren't all hidden in easy accesible places on a road

Are you sure? Wouldn't it make sense to mine roads and open areas where tanks, jeeps, misc vehicles and troops will march in a column, or supply routes? No one is going to stick lots of mines in places no one else will walk on. Granted there probably are a lot of mines off the roads and open areas, but I think the vast majority would be accessible to a robot.

Your mother gives me fellatio. (-1)

LOTR Troll (544929) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006199)

Taco tosses Hemos' salad.

Russian Jokes (-1)

Commienst (102745) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006203)

After the NATO has made with Yugoslavia, it is obliged to marry her.

Two drunkards are drinking vodka. One of them is reading a newspaper:
- The drink twice cuts down the life... How old are you, hey?
- 30.
- O! And if you haven't drunk you'd be 60!

"How did you celebrate Christmas?"
"Like a present!"
"All night I lay under the Christmas tree."

A New Russian calls to his secretary:
- Lena, how much of zeros are in one million?
- Six.
He disconnects and tells his partner:
- You see? Six zeros in one million! Thus, in two millions it is twelve.

Two men sat in a bar. They took a drink and began talking. As it happened to be they lived in the same city, studied at the same school and class. A barfly came into the bar and asks a barman:
"What's new?"
"Nothing. But the brothers Smiths are drunk again."

In tax police:
- Where did you get money to buy MERCEDES?
- I sold my FORD, added little bit money and bought it.
- Where did you get FORD?
- I sold my LADA, added little bit money and bought it.
- Where did you get LADA?
- I sold my SUZUKI, added little bit money and bought it.
- Where did you get SUZUKI?
- I already have been in prison for that.

Cos Company Ltd's Webpage (3, Informative)

hyoo (155460) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006214)

The company has a webpage here [] but they don't have an article/photos (at least in the engrish [] section of their site). Anyone read Japanese?

Sound good... (1)

perraymo (555531) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006216)

but how does it locate the mines, and how fast? If I remember correctly the most cost-effective method of removing mines is training local personel for the job. Although this costs $$$ and takes *lots* of time I can't imagine a $75K beeing more cost effective.. And, at he bottom line it's all about $$, right? (Corrections wanted, needed and apreciated) -Typos added for xtra effect

Re:Sound good... (2)

budgenator (254554) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006412)

Most landmines are not used as a military tool to control and canalize oposing forces movement but rather at a genocide/terror device. Because of this many of these landmines, lets include crude booby-traps, man-traps, and command detonated devices here for General purposes, are installed with anti-handleing devices and used in a drop and run mode. Mine-field clearence is a particularly hazardous duty and requires extensive training.

Mines are normaly detected by sweeping an area with a mine detector, metalic detectors detect the magnetic annomlies created by the presence of metal in the ground, the same as civilian coin detectors people use to fine change and rings lost on the beach.

Non-metalic mine detectors, use radio or microwaves to detect variations in ground density, most landmines are made of plastic, as the predonomiate material today. Think soaped up electrinic stud detector here.

Finaly mines are detected by probing with a stick or aluminum tent stake (many anti-vehicle mines also have a magnetic detonator) by hand, this is very dangerous and usualy only done afeter a sweep by one of the above detectors. When doing a clearence operation a lane 18-24 inches wide is worked at time; it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that clearing an acre takes a long time. If the robot can clear a 4 foot lane, and go ten times faster than a man crawling on hes belly, pushing a stick into the ground 3 inches apart, it'll turn an impossible job into a do-able job.

Also remember this is not just something that's dones in far-away places; Military bases often have artilery impact area, and not all shells that are shot explode on impact, a miniscule number just go thud. These unexploded shells just sit there in the ground with detonators that just need an nth more to detonate. Add some nut riding an motorcycle, where he shouldn't be and runs one over and somebody is dead.
Replying to an other post, yes theroretical most military explosive can be burned without exploding, miliatary explosives are much less sensitive than civian explosive. They need a hotter primer than civian explosives, in act a civialian detonator probably won't set off military explosives, DON'T TRY THIS AT HOME!!! but shooting them with incideary bullets also addd physical compression and may cause an explosion, or worst, just high sensitize the explosives!

$75K is cheap compared to training costs, manpower costs, and more importantly costs of loss-of-life and limb and medical costs.

Rather a... (0, Flamebait)

sporty (27564) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006218)

I'd rather a "Robot, Mime Smasher" Not a smasher of Robotic Mimes. Well, maybe them too. Just something that smashes mimes. Disturbing group of people. *shudder*

Them and mime attachments. Hey, could be an e-mail virus killer.


Anyone? (1)

sargon666777 (555498) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006220)

Did anyone find information on what this cover is all about? I don't know about the rest of you, but I just had a vision of a lego man covering a landmine with a hankerchief before hitting it with a hammer. So I wonder what exactly the cover is made of.

Cheaper than humans (2)

yoink! (196362) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006228)

Even if one blows up by accident it will have been less expensive than loosing a trained soldier. Seriously though, my brother who is in the Army Reserves here in Canada (we have an Army?) took a three-week basic trainning course. Apparently the course cost the Canadian government $30 000 CDN (currently 18,869.11 USD thanks to Bloomberg [] ) for each to-be-infantry-unit. The scary thing is that it's only the first of several courses which get him to the rank of private (the lowest rank in case you didn't know.) I can't image what the cost is for the highly-trained enlisted men, especially the engineers who continue to search for landmines in person.

As always, and more importantly than cost, if it can save lives, it's a worthwhile piece of gear. It will be interesting to see, if these robots are a success, just how much the units, the robots are "posted to," mod their little mine finders. "Mine serves beer too!" (It's even a pun! Forgive me.)


the end of landmine use? (1)

z)bandito(_X (243059) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006239)

could this be the beginning of the end of landmines? think about it, if this robot works as well as claimed, military forces will probably be quick to integrate what appears to be inexpensive technology into anything they can. if tanks have this tech built into the front or underside of the vehicle then they could just roll right over landmines. further, footsoldiers could be equipped with the detection aspect of the system and perhaps eventually a variant of the 'smashing' technology itself.

so at that point (sometime in the future obviously), why bother buying and placing landmines that are totally ineffective against military forces? I'm not a big fan of war, so I'm not sure that unstoppable ubertanks are a great idea, but then again I'm not so sure about many of the militarys' plans and ideas. At any rate, the elimination of landmines and the elimination of their use would be a great thing for civilians.

in case you didn't know its usually civilians who end up finding the land mines. Actually, I have a doctor friend who travels to areas heavily ridden with landmines in order to teach reconstructive medicine [] because so many civilians not only find the mines, but are then unable to recieve proper medical care.

there are also some graphic pictures there of various other trauma he teaches reconstructive medicine in relation to, so be forewarned. and hit up my website and download some music that I am paying these stinky bandwidth bills for while you are at it!

riaa untouched. no login required. advertisement free.

Re:the end of landmine use? (1)

joib (70841) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006372)

Problem is, antipersonnel mines cost like 1 cent each. For each of these fancy things you buy, I can buy bazillions of landmines. Sad but true...

hypocrisis (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3006240)

Isn't this all hypocrisis to bomb Afghanistan and to drop thousands of mines on them, and to declare helping them after by taking out the mines.....?

Score -1, Anti-American (-1)

dadaist (544022) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006317)

CENSOR! (quick, mod him down)

Detection (1)

olman (127310) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006247)

Article says the detection is optical.

That's cool. But not all AP mines have a probe above ground AFAIK. Modern types have minuscule amounts of metal in the detonator to boot, too.

I don't think that looking for turned earth in any warzone's going to get you very far.. So just how is the mine detection gear supposed to work? Xray?

Options (1)

Arsewiper (535175) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006248)

Considering the amount of mines in existence and the variation of terrain the only sensible method would have to be from the air.

To prevent further mines being used it would help if the companies that made the components were publicly listed so we could choose wether or not buy theirs or their subsiduaries products (ICI? for example). Same goes for banks that fund dictators. Instead of the press saying this person is bad they should name the bank funding them with loans thus empowering the public to actually do something about it i.e take their business elsewhere. Without bank loans no countrye can afford a modern war. Welcome to ethical business.

Hmmm.... (1)

timdorr (213400) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006249)

Sounds like Battlebots has got a new contender for next season..

Now, what are they gonna name it? Defuzor? Super Happy Fun CrushBot?

Tech is not the answer (5, Informative)

bjornte (536493) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006250)

Having several colleagues that are trained Product Design Engineers, and therefore used to thinking "a product will solve the problem", I'll share their experience in this field. HI-TECH PRODUCTS ARE NOT THE SOLUTION IN THIS CASE. ANY kind of techy product is crap.

I'm a tech guy myself and a /. reader to prove it, but when it comes to disarming mines one must turn to other means. Reason:

1. The machine will very likely get stuck in the not-so-ideal terrain mines are dug into.
2a. There are no good logistics for things like spare parts, fuel etc in third-world, mine-ridden countries.
2b. A techy machine is very valuable as, exactly, spare parts. Therefore, it will be looted rather than used as intended. example A large European aluminium manufacturer made studies of using aluminium beams in Catastrophe Shelter Housing. It became obvious that the alum would create riots, and therefore, one had to use bamboo. Good for India, bad for Big Industry.
3. Third-world labour is M-U-C-H cheaper than industrialised-world labour. To design, manufacture, deploy, operate, service and even protect an anti-mine machine, whatever the kind, requires tenfold the resources than paying unemployed, higly motivated locals to do the job. The job is ACTUALLY not very dangerous if education and overseeing is done properly.
4. Auto-mine-cleaners remove a smaller percentage of the mines than human workers. Therefore, it is NOT SAFE to enter an area that has been "cleaned" by machines.

What REALLY PISSES ME OFF is that industrialised countries makes easily-digestable "foreign aid budgets" by giving domestic industry R&D money that can never be translated into a better situation for the ones that really need it. Check out the way your Foreign Aid is distributed, Americans. It sucks, big time, and sadly, that makes the rule rather than the exeption.

Score -1, Anti-American (-1)

dadaist (544022) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006326)

Someone call HCUA.

Re:Tech is not the answer (1)

TRACK-YOUR-POSITION (553878) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006340)

Too bad I'd much rather see the money spent on domestic R&D then just paid directly to the foreigners....or rather to the foreign dictators who are responsible for the mess to begin with.

Re:Tech is not the answer (1)

Pyrosz (469177) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006446)

The job is ACTUALLY not very dangerous if education and overseeing is done properly.

This is total Bull Shit... please go ask a few Army Engineers about their job and ask them if its "not very dangerous".

Hey look! I poke a stick at mines all day hoping I wont accidently just miss and later step on it! Or I use a medal detector ... but the mines might be plastic and not set it off, damn I stepped on one!

Re:Tech is not the answer (1)

Pyrosz (469177) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006468)

"medal" should be "metal"

Re:Tech is not the answer (1)

bjornte (536493) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006487)

If I recall correctly: The Norwegian People's Help, or whatever their English name is, has had four thousand third-world workers on the payroll since 1996 and has lost six lives. I might have the details wrong but the statistics were surprisingly good. Point is, it's very cost-effective to use local workers, especially considering the usual alternative: to stay unemployed, unable to harvest from the countryside, not to mention being worried sick about their kids picking up shiny-looking stuff from the ground.

What about magnetic mines!? (1)

Orre (452514) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006255)

What about magnetic mines. I mean there are combination mines that are both for personal and anti vehicle use (disgusting, right). These mines can be stepped on for explosion, also they feel vehicles by the magnetic mechanism and explode.

That could be a problem if the robot is not constructed in material other that metal.

powerfull countrys stop producing mines (3, Insightful)

Migx (551367) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006256)

Like USA, who refused to sign the paper concerning that issue. But then again it's an republican president now, meaning WEAPONS WEAPONS... like that stupid anti missile shield, when everybody know that the most dangerous attacks come from actions inside the country not outside, like Olkahome, Wold trade center etc etc ..... hmm i'm going off topic in here so I will just shut up :)

Re:powerfull countrys stop producing mines (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3006313)

like Olkahome? BTW I think he meant Oklahoma as in The Oklahoma City Bombing

Banning land mines (5, Insightful)

SmileyBen (56580) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006257)

How sad then, that America has almost single-handedly prevented the banning of anti-personnel land mines, principally because it is afraid of losing its ability to interfere in Korea.

...not laying them in the first place is a lot more cost / effort / human-life efficient than removing mines once you have...

Too true... (1)

andaru (535590) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006277)

Especially since mines kill indescriminately, even while they are "in use."

I haven't seen one yet with a bad-guy-detector on it.

Re:Banning land mines (1)

z)bandito(_X (243059) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006311)

How sad then, that America has almost single-handedly prevented the banning of anti-personnel land mines, principally because it is afraid of losing its ability to interfere in Korea.

that and they are a high profit item, or so I hear...

riaa untouched. no login required. advertisement free.

Re:Banning land mines (4, Interesting)

Psiren (6145) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006330)

So whats new? America have been practising one thing and preaching another for years. Weapons and War seem to be an almost staple diet. The whole country is screwed up. Hey, its okay for young kids to own handguns, but hell, we don't want security cameras filming the public, that would just be an invasion of privacy.

Yeah, I'm, trolling. Yeah, I'll be modded down. But I still think America is fucked up.

Re:Banning land mines (3, Interesting)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006353)

  • not laying them in the first place is a lot more cost / effort / human-life efficient than removing mines

This report for the US army [] reckons that the best compromise is to fit an independent 2nd fuse on every item of ordnance, based purely on the cost measured pragmatically in terms of US military casualties from friendly UXO, let alone civilian casualties.

I don't know about the follow up, but I expect that it failed the up-front-cost laugh test based on the simple observation that your ordnance is usually dropped on the other guy in a dusty country, so who gives a damn. Not us, obviously. :(

Think Afghanistan is hard? Try Mozambique. (3, Interesting)

Apuleius (6901) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006283)

Some of the minefields there were hit by massive
floods recently. Now the mines are shifted,
so mine maps are no good, and they're oriented
every which way. Build a robot that can
handle that, and you will prove yourself a
major stud.

Its the Bud ad! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3006287)

"We want to contribute to reconstruction efforts (in Afghanistan) by combining the knowledge and expertise of private firms and universities," he said.

Right. They were all sitting around drinking bud and watching the superbowl ads. At first they were upset that there was no wazaaabi followup. Then something struck them in the head when the fridge won the robitics battle.

That's good news. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3006289)

I'm glad we can finally deploy landmines without a bad conscience. Hooray technology. Now if someone made an SDI-style defense system we could also use those expensive nuclear missiles we've been stockpiling. Go, scientists. Protect the innocent (that's us), so we can dish out more.

Made unstable? (1)

JohnBE (411964) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006306)

Interesting. If the detonator were destroyed inproperly, made unstable, you would end up with a more deadly less predictable mine. I hope it works, but lets not beta test it on people who need human support too. A human would have to deal with the un-detonated mine that has a broken fuse, if the shell is cracked the explosives are potentially very unstable.

OK, the article was a bit light so the above could be making five from two plus two.

Experts! (2)

Schwarzchild (225794) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006307)

Funny how /. posters are poo-pooing the alleged robot. Since no one knows what it looks like and what its technical specifications are then it just seems a little strange to make all of these criticisms.

It's probably not the ideal tool but wouldn't it make sense to let this thing loose on a strip of land to search for mines before real humans try to search the same strip. After all, people may be cheap in some parts of the world but they're never disposable.

Photo of droid found (2)

sharkey (16670) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006312)

This page [] has what is possibly an early photo of the droid. []

Junkyard Wars (1)

invid (163714) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006315)

The best mine smasher was made by the Mules on Junkyard Wars. A large, rotating metal cylinder with chains coming off of it. It certainly did a good job thrashing the ground and the mines in the ground. I think we should make a robot based on that design and let it loose.

Re:Junkyard Wars (1)

Elgon (234306) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006382)

A design which has been around since about 1941 if I remember correctly: A version of one of the British (and probably American tanks too) existed then with exactly this system on it.


Re:Junkyard Wars (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3006430)

Don't know what exactly "Mules on Junkyard Wars" is, but this vehicle was in fact used to destroy mines buried in the sand of beaches, in IIWW. Problem is they were just OK in that situation, but not very efective on heavier soils.
Anyway, anti-personell mines are not so powerfull (tactic principle: don't kill him if you can impede him, his mates in battlefield to help him, backguard resources to take care of him, and morale of the enemy seeing him impeded) so I really don't know why just not deploy some kind of bulldozer to remove the terrain and make them explode in front of it.

More than just mines, I hope (5, Informative)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006321)

  • this will help remove mines in Afghanistan, which after 20 years of war has more then a few around

Some factoids from the Gruaniad [] :

  • 2,000 people a month are killed or maimed by landmines worldwide.
  • There are 110 million active landmines deployed worldwide.
  • For every mine removed, 30 more are layed.
  • Laying a mine costs between 3 and 30 dollars. Removing one costs between 300 and 1000 dollars.

I hope this will be useful for all unexploded ordnance (UXO), not just mines. Iraq and Kuwait are still full of US UXO from the Gulf, and in a karmic twist, this report for the US army [] actually focuses on US troop casualties (based on Gulf data) as a prime consideration of US UXO, with civilian casualties as an "Oh yeah" afterthought. When even the military starts getting worried about the amount of explosives they're scattering everywhere, it's time to take stock.

From a soldier (2, Informative)

two_socks (516862) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006328)

A couple of quick items from someone trained to handle mines.

No, not all mines have probes or trips above the ground - there are both anti-personnel and anti-armor mines that are completely buried with no above ground protrusions.

"Not that I know much about landmines, but does this mean the detonator cap is smashed without detonating? Or separated from the explosives before it can?"
No, this would blow the whole thing.

Some Issues, But a Damn Fine Idea (5, Interesting)

Hoyceman (452009) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006338)

I was in the Army for a while and even spent some time working with the Explosive Ordnance Disposal unit learning about bomb defusal. I think this robot is a great idea and could even work, but it has some definate drawbacks. There are a lot of mines where this would work very well.

The Army uses small explosive charges themselves to disarm the mines while at the same time the explosion throws them out of the way. As far as everyone talking about the non-ideal terrain that it would have to find mines on, I don't entirely agree. Military disposal is usually limited to making a wide enough path through an area so the rest of the force can travel through. The military doesn't waste time (according to them a waste of time) disarming every mine they come across. They just take care of the ones directly in their way and move on. As long as the mines in the area were not of a very few specific types of the mines out there, it would be great to not have to risk human lives and use the robot to disarm the mines.

A few issues that would need to be addressed are the sensing, disposal after the crushing, and different triggers. The robot would need a density sensor on it to accurately find mines that contain a small amount(sometimes none)of metal. These make up only a small amount of the land mines that industrialized countries drop, but there are tons of homemade landmines out there in the world.

Disposal after the crushing with the piston is another issue. Just because the main detonator is destroyed doesn't make the landmine safe. There are plenty of landmine configurations that have secondary detonators that are much harder to destroy.

As for the different kinds of triggers, yes this would probably not work with magnetic triggers. There are plenty of different types of magnetic triggers, and I'm sure it would work for some of them. This almost doesn't matter because of the low frequency at which you will find those few kinds of triggers I can think of where it wouldn't work, but it will happen from time to time. It depends on how big of an area the magnetic field covers. Most of them just cover a small area right above the mine, but I have heard of a few whose only option for removal is to have the EOD guys strip naked(don't want your zipper or any other stupid thing setting it off) and do it by hand.

So could this be a great idea? Yes. Does it have limitations? Yes. Do I think 75K is worth spending and not risking a human life? Absolutely.

Re:Some Issues, But a Damn Fine Idea (1)

z)bandito(_X (243059) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006492)

The military doesn't waste time (according to them a waste of time) disarming every mine they come across. They just take care of the ones directly in their way and move on. As long as the mines in the area were not of a very few specific types of the mines out there, it would be great to not have to risk human lives and use the robot to disarm the mines.

what kind of specific mines are you talking about, and why? thanks

riaa untouched. no login required. advertisement free. []

for those who do not know (2, Informative)

Pat__ (26992) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006348)

One of the most time consuming ( difficult ?) tasks is preparing the terrain for the robot or the well traind human to work on. Especially when mines stay for tens of years ... you can imagine the bushes/rock/trees/ground drifts! ... I live in Lebanon and I have seen such mountains filled with mines (planted by Israel when it was occupying the south part). The UN here estimates they need 50 years to remove them all, they seriously doubt any robot will be able to handle the job well.

Scrapheap Challenge (Junkyard Wars) (1)

tplayford (308405) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006365)

This reminds me of one of the scrapheap challenge tasks, as far as I remember the winning design was to smash the sand (the mines were buried on a beach) with spining chain flails. Much more fun, and far more dangerous :)

Chemical Instability (1)

snakeyes (73026) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006422)

One of the rather interesting things about Mines (well, anything w/ explosives), is the fact that they become chemically unstable after time. To the point where disabling them mechanically does not remove the actual danger.

You could have a mine w/ the detonation system completely destroyed, but if it is dropped/mishandled, it will go off and do just as much damage to the disposal team. I honestly don't see any other way to dispose of them, without using fire to fight fire (blowing up a mine w/ an explosive).

mine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3006452)

re locating mines: almost all mines "leak" substances that can be detected with proper sensors.

Detection? How about these.. (1)

Tukai (456864) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006542)

I sure wouldn't feel safe going to a field after it'd been inspected by a bunch of robots,
however sophisticated mine detection gadgets they might have.
Wonder if any common antipersonnel/vehicle mines could survive the hammering this monster can offer?
RA-140 []
theres also one in action:
Raisu in action []
(ok pics, sorry about the Finnish..)

The robots might do a good job on really unaccessible terrains but for clearing up bigger areas, these offer more *bang* for a buck I think.
Cheap, easy to operate and robust.


mines (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3006546)

i assume it uses the same idea as a controlled explosion. A bomb/mine would need a detonator to produce an explosion. if you use an external shock to the detonator that will dislodge its link to the mine/bomb it will become safe. Rememeber robots have been used for a long time to defuse or place controlled explosions, this therefore maybe the next step. I am no expert but makes some sense

Another way to smash mines (1)

Joel Ironstone (161342) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006552)

Perhaps a better way to rid the world of mines would be for the us to sign the multilateral agreement not to use or traffic in them. I still can't see any but sinister anti-civilian uses for these things.

or any other reference to the accord.

automatic mine removal (1)

thkoch (523130) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006556)

There was a company in germany that had kind of a
earth turning device to remove mines. It shuffled all the earth in and shreddered it, either destroying or letting explode (it was armored) the mines.

The problem with these maschines seem always to be anti tank mines. Anti personal mines can be blocked by armor, but if you hit exidentally an AT mine, it will probably blow whatever machine you have.

Not nessicarily (1)

Mr.roboto (112555) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006559)

Some "minesweepers" (the term is probably trademarked by Microsoft ;)) actually depend on detonating the device, a common historic tank had a drum with flailing chains, it's a lot easier to replace a chunk of chain then someone's leg.

more then (0, Offtopic)

taxman_10m (41083) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006564)

As this article also points out, this will help remove mines in Afghanistan, which after 20 years of war has more then a few around.

You mean more than.

From the article (1)

doozer_ex_machina (134574) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006568)

The mine is then crushed by a hydraulically operated hammer positioned beneath the cowl, but it does not explode, because of the hammer's high velocity, the company said. The hammer can strike mines at velocities of up to three meters per second.

Why don't they use something like this: (2)

InsaneCreator (209742) | more than 12 years ago | (#3006594)

I've alway beeno wondering why don't they just isolate the minefield and drive a huge steam-roller over it. What kind of damage could a landmine do to a huge piece of steel anyway? Just get everyone far enough away.
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