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Detecting Land Mines

January 14, 2008

Removing land mines is dangerous business, but new methods may eventually make detection more accurate.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):
Sounding out land mines. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Land mines continue to kill or maim thousands of people each year. Electromagnetic detection is the most common way to get rid of them. There’s only one catch – it only finds mines made of metal. Land mine manufacturers know this, and now most land mines are made out of plastic. Trying to stay one step ahead, the U.S. Army is developing a new landmine technology that uses acoustic waves. Acoustic scientist Laurent Fillinger of Artann Laboratories and Stevens Institute of Technology explains.

LAURENT FILLINGER (Stevens Institute of Technology):
So we excite the ground and the air with a set of loudspeakers, and record the vibration we produce in the ground, and then analyzing those vibrations we can say whether there is a mine or not.

HIRSHON:
He says more work is needed before the technology becomes precise enough for maximum efficiency in the field. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.