Local News

Triangle-Based Technology Designed To Make Mine Detection Easier

Posted January 10, 2002 10:54 a.m. EST

— As we have seen, the war in Afghanistan is a dangerous business. But the battlefield is not the only place troops risk their lives. There are hundreds of land mines hidden in the region, but a new device with connections to the Triangle could make their job a little safer.

Clearing land mines the old way is very dangerous work. Digging around with knives or sticks can set off the mine, killing or maiming the searcher.

A laboratory in New Jersey is home to a new land mine detection system. It uses what's called "non-linear acoustics" to measure differences in soundwaves reflected by mines hidden underground.

Dr. Dimitri Donskoy came up with the idea. He approached the Army Research Office in Durham and got research funding from the government. Dr. Robert Reeber, now retired from the Research Office, helped get the program started.

"You can pick up mine signals from the background and if you have a rock that's the same size, you won't see it. You can discriminate it," Reeber said. "We were interested mainly in getting the new ideas into the system and then trying to push the development forward."

Buried mines are intended to injure and kill advancing ground troops and vehicles. The new detection gear measures the difference in soundwaves bounced back from soil versus the mines.

"What happens is you vibrate one against the other and you get specific signals that you can discriminate, which in other acoustic technologies, you can't do," Reeber said.

Donskoy has started a company which will further develop the system.