Bochum Search Device Protect Colombian Special Forces (Medici Project)

Engineers from Bochum University no longer see how every year thousands of Colombians are maimed by land mines. Therefore develop a mobile search device, which itself should take mines out of plastic (Medici Project).

An estimated 100,000 land mines are spread across nearly all 32 districts of Colombia mostly set by rebel groups, to protect stock and coca fields from government troops. But victims of the bombs, which kill and maim are mostly farmers and their families who live in the nearby fields and forests. The country complained over 9,000 victims between 2000 and 2012.

Land mines are hard to find with metal detectors

The Colombian military has difficulties in mitigation of land mines. As with the standard metal detectors the mines that often assemble rebel groups from everyday objects, hardly track for all possible other items.

“By 2000 found objects, only one is a mine”, says Christoph Baer. Therefore, the engineer of the Ruhr University Bochum works with his team on a handheld device, which together made mines to detect reliably with a ground radar procedures from plastic parts.

Bochum engineers rely on ground radar procedures

The heart of the new device is a ground radar technique that is used in archeology.

It consists of three main components: an antenna, a radar and a system for determining position. The antenna, an in house development of engineers radiate the produced by the radar signals in the frequency range of 500 MHz to 4 GHz in the ground and captures them again after they were reflected by objects. At the same time continuously, a system for determining position determines where the instrument is in relation to the ground.

Damian Gorczany mine device
To characterize cobbled together mines of plastic parts, the researchers measure the strength and the time of the reflection of mines electromagnetic waves. Photo: Damian Gorczany

Minesweeper can detect at first glance explosive devices with the device. “One who holds the radar unit in your hand, to can immediately see a picture” explains researcher Jan Barowski. The problem: In reality, point-shaped objects look first on radar images like curved lines. Therefore, the researchers use a software to convert the lines into point objects in real time.

The Colombian government has programs to eradicate coca by mechanical means
Cocaine manufacture protects with over 100,000 land mines plantations.

Computer simulated radar signals of different mines

Device learns to recognize different forms of mine, the researchers had cobbled together the different model mines from objects of everyday life.

This custom builds were by then in the computer and simulated the specific radar signal. Lined with the characteristic patterns the search device in everyday life to distinguish many of so-called improvised explosive devices of the rebel groups by other objects in the ground.