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Most conventional landmine detectors are based on detecting the electromagnetic signature of the mine itself, which can easily be confused with other buried metal objects or wet or magnetic soil patches.
A project funded by the US Army developed a new method for landmine identification that will greatly reduce false alarm rates. With this new technology, landmines can be detected without digging.
Fewer false alarms will significantly reduce the cost of humanitarian landmine clearance operations and provide greater road mobility by avoiding unnecessary route detours.
Vadum, North Carolina State University, the Georgia Institute of Technology and the Army Research Office, an element of the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command’s Army Research Laboratory, collaborated to develop what’s known as the Vibration-ENhanced Underground Sensing system, or VENUS.
With the new technology, the small metal parts inside the landmine are stimulated to vibrate using a pulsed magnetic field.
Most other buried objects don’t respond to the magnetic pulse and those that do have very different vibrational characteristics. The vibrations are detected by a unique high dynamic range vibrometer that can distinguish closely-spaced low-frequency vibrations.
The mathematical algorithms behind the detection depend on understanding the details of the interaction of magnetic fields, radar pulses, and vibrating components within the landmine as well as with the properties of various soil and clutter objects.
The research team will work to miniature and ruggedize the detection device for reliable outdoor testing at an Army range. The researchers also will collect data from real landmines in a variety of soil conditions and demonstrate the performance of the technology in demanding and stressing field conditions, according to techxplore.com.