Posted in | News | Vibration Sensor

American Physicists Develop Low-Cost Landmine Detection Sensor

John Scales, Physics professor at American Institute of Physics, is working towards developing an acoustical/microwave detection system that will eliminate the damage and devastation that could result from the explosion caused by buried land mines.

This high technology research is illustrated in the Journal of Applied Physics, an American Institute of Physics (AIP) publication. The Army Research Office of the U.S. Army Research Laboratory has sponsored the research.

Scales, with the help of Martin Smith, his collaborator and Colorado School of Mines students, developed a microwave-based sensor system that can detect underground vibrations. As this system is based on microwaves, the sensor is active even through foliage. Built from off-the-shelf parts and those sourced from online auction deals, the sensor costs around $10,000, the Doppler remote detection systems are available from $1 million onwards.

Land mine detection has attracted multiple approaches that range from training rats and dogs to detect chemicals to installing color-changing biosensor plants to detect alterations in soil conditions that result from the existence of underground land mines. Other applications for remote vibration sensing include scrutiny of the structural integrity of buildings, dams, and bridges.

According to John Scales, they first developed an ultrasound technique that shakes the ground. Then they made a microwave component that would detect ground motion and indicate the landmine’s position. He hopes that that combination of these two devices will enable safe landmine detection from afar. He also says that there is need for further innovation as there is no foolproof scheme for land mine detection.


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