Rolling in the wind – The Mine Kafon is a low-cost wind-powered mine detonator with the appearance of a giant, spiky-armed tumbleweed.
Bamboo legs – A multitude of plunger-like arms made from lightweight bamboo spread out from a spherical core that contains a cheap GPS tracking device. The Mine Kafon can withstand the loss of about a third of these arms before it can no longer propel itself forward by the wind.
Plungers for feet – The recycled rubber feet ensure maximum contact with the ground as the Mine Kafon tumbles with the wind across areas known or suspected to contain anti-personnel landmines.
Child's play – The structure was designed by former Afghan refugee Massoud Hassani, who was inspired by the hand-made toys -- like the one pictured above crafted from paper and plastic straws -- that he and his friends would fashion when they were kids growing up in Afghanistan.
Thinking big – As a student at Design Academy Eindhoven, Hassani began remaking the paper orbs of his youth but at 20 times the scale and weight -- with the hope that such a structure could be used to detonate some of the 10 million or so undetected mines that the United Nations says still cover his home country.
Big bangs – The resulting design has been under testing by Dutch military and development groups for the past few years.
Cheap sweep – Mine-sweeping is predominantly carried out manually by mine diffusing experts, and often at great expense. Hassani says that one of the main advantages of his creation is that it can be produced for around $40 and, he hopes, eventually without significant expertise.
Safety first – However, mine clearing expert Adam Komorowski says that, while a noble and inspiring concept, the current Mine Kafon prototype falls far short of industry safety standards. His main concern is that it depends on the capricious mood of the wind, which makes it less systematic than it needs to be.