Land mine eradication initiative
Presently, in the year 2022, there are approximately one hundred and ten million unexploded land mines around the world. Long after whatever conflict it was that saw them placed in the first place, they remain, killing and maiming approximately 26,000 people each and every year.
This reality, causes tremendous suffering and just because it’s not featured on our western mainstream media, doesn’t mean it’s not happening every day killing/maiming a families main breadwinner or their children.
What can we do about it? A lot, I’m sure collectively but I’m trying to build that reality. In the meantime I can tell you what I did about it.
During the year 2015, while I was serving in the Royal Australian Navy, I was involved in something called Cerberus Robotics. It was for me a fascinating opportunity to learn more about what I knew would become more and more, part of all our daily lives.
One day it dawned upon me to think about how robotics could be used to help eradicate the number of dormant unexploded land mines around the world. The statistics were terrible, both in terms of the sheer number of them and the carnage they cause.
Through my research, I discovered that mechanical engineering students at a number of prominent universities had prototype models of basically remote control cars that were designed to detect and mark land mines.
From this I conjectured that you could fit, explosive detection sensors, ground penetrating radar and a web enabled mobile phone fitted to the front. The phone camera would enable the user to see, where the vehicle was going and when a mine was detected it could satellite grid map it’s location.
Further to this, in line with Australian government initiatives around STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths), I thought every high school in Australia could be involved in the following way.
Once a prototype kit had been developed with a per kit cost ranging from $1500-$3000 ( uni models costs were in this range), each high school could raise money to buy the kits. They could have raffles, cake stalls, gold coin donations, bring in old unused mobile/cell phones etc etc so that for each high school year, students could build these kits.
Once the kits had been built and a level of operational quality control had been applied to each unit, the schools could then drop them off to their local RSL Club. These clubs are all around Australia, like our schools, coincidentally and were established by the Returned Serviceman’s League, with affiliations to serving and ex serving defence members.
Once the kits were stored at the clubs, the Army, Navy and Airforce could pick them up and take them with them on deployments. They could give them to affected people in locations such as, Sierra Leone, Cambodia etc with land mine issues.
I contacted departments at the United Nations (UNODA & UNIDR) set up for the purpose of the land mine scourge and heard nothing back from them. I contacted Professors who had written papers on land mine eradication, one in Japan and another in a place I can no longer remember but I do remember, I never heard from any of them.
I contacted Prince Harry and his wife Meghan via their Sussexroyal handle, though this was right at the time they were exiting the UK to move to Canada/USA and their right to use it was waived. I had seen a news article that had stated Prince Harry was taking over the land mine role that his mother, Lady Diana had started over 20 years before.
Over the years, I spoke to many about this initiative and one day, I spoke with someone who helped refine it to the gold standard. He told me that he hadn’t thought of it til I had told him of my initiative. He had been providing the US with intel during the Kuwait war as he was in the petroleum game and knew about pipelines and locations etc.
He said that I could use a helicopter drone, he then showed me a website for what he said were the best in the world, Swiss drones. A spectral imaging camera could be attached to it and it would see in the ground and even detect the plastic land mines and those buried deeper than 2 inches (5cm) below the ground. Both of those points were of a concern to me with my remote control car idea.
Since then, I’ve created a Facebook group called, Land mine eradication group. This is the first time however that I have told this story in so much detail publicly.
I have also learned that apparently the method finally gleaned by my individual actions is one of the methods (rats are another) they use to help find land mines. However, I think that if it was more publicly known, then the initiative could be ramped up to help expedite the whole problem.
This is one example of how I believe a collective intelligence network could help to resolve problems such as these.
Much more to follow, please stay tuned…….