Sound Beams Spot Land Mines

Jan. 11, 2007
An estimated 26,000 people are killed or injured every year by land mines and while the casualties include soldiers, most are civilians, half of them children under 16 years old, who step on uncleared minefields after a war.

Julie Kalista
Online Editor

MIT Lincoln Laboratory researchers are developing a sonic beam that seeks out buried mines the way bats seek out their prey.
Photo Credit: Jon Barron, MIT Lincoln Lab
And there are still 60 to 70 million undetected land mines out there. "Reliable methods that quickly and accurately locate land mines made of metal and plastic are desperately needed," according to Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) researcher Robert Haupt.

Haupt and his team developed parametric acoustic arrays (with more power than a jet engine) made up of ceramic transducers that emit ultrasonic waves that measure 155 dB after they travel one meter away. When the sound beam hits buried mines, they vibrate and resonate from the sound waves and push up on the ground. These vibrations are then measured with a laser-based Doppler vibrometer. "Mines have a sound signature unlike anything else that let you determine the types of mines and even the countries that made them by their acoustic signatures," says Haupt. Because the acoustic intensity dies away to almost nothing outside the beam, like a flashlight of sound, it will not harm operators or those nearby.

The prototype detector was tested at the Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory Army Corps of Engineers landmine facility in New Hampshire, CT. The researchers were able to detect both metal and plastic mines but said the system will need a major boost in acoustic power before minefield searchers can use it safely. The researchers also hope to tailor the system to detect damage in cement bridge piers from as far away as the shore.

More Information:
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)


This article appears in the Tech Insider e-mail newsletter. If you enjoyed this article and would like to read similar articles sign up today for our free email newsletters!

Sponsored Recommendations

How BASF turns data into savings

May 7, 2024
BASF continuously monitors the health of 63 substation assets — with Schneider’s Service Bureau and EcoStruxure™ Asset Advisor. ►Learn More: https://www.schn...

Agile design thinking: A key to operation-level digital transformation acceleration

May 7, 2024
Digital transformation, aided by agile design thinking, can reduce obstacles to change. Learn about 3 steps that can guide success.

Can new digital medium voltage circuit breakers help facilities reduce their carbon footprint?

May 7, 2024
Find out how facility managers can easily monitor energy usage to create a sustainable, decarbonized environment using digital MV circuit breakers.

The Digital Thread: End-to-End Data-Driven Manufacturing

May 1, 2024
Creating a Digital Thread by harnessing end-to-end manufacturing data is providing unprecedented opportunities to create efficiencies in the world of manufacturing.

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of Machine Design, create an account today!