Let's Make Robots!

Google Science Fair Robot

Triggers scale mines.

  This robot was built for my google science fair entry.  The goal behind this project was to see if an inexpensive robot could trigger anti personnel mines.  For my experiment I made scale mines and checked to see if my robot could trigger them using a flailing chain on the front.  The experiment went well and I am happy with how this robot preformed.  There is a lot more information on the submission site along with a video.

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Wow thats amazing! Keep going at it!


Hey JoeB,

this is fantastic.   it is very similar to large ones used by various militaries, mounted to the front of battle tanks, used to clear mine fields for armies to pass through.   and at that large scale they do survive, or occasionally need to have some chains replaced.

if scaled up a few factors, your design shows that a similar operation could be used to clear mines from former mine fields as you described in your video.   and even if the little guy doesnt survive, it will allow the local population to get their farmland back.  and only a few hundred dollars would be lost, instead of peoples limbs.   dozens of them could be deployed to each remote regions.

instead of that guy walking with the metal detector, he could place one of these on the ground and stand back.   a magnetometer could also be used to know if it passed over the mine without detonating it, then it could work the area a little more before moving on.

wouldnt it be great if Google financed the production of these for immediate use.   


Great work Joe!


    You got the concept completely.  The only problem for the metal detector would be that newer mines are mostly made of plastic but it would work fine for older mines because they have a lot of metal.  Also the metal detector would work great for anti-tank mines because they are almost completely metal and it would be very difficult for a robot to set them off because they take hundreds of pounds of pressure to set off. 

     Also that was the same thing I was thinking about if the robot got destroyed.  The main reason other kinds of systems for clearing mines did not fully suceed were for one or more of these three reasons:

a)They were to dangerous

b)They were to expensive to be widely accesible

c)They took specilized personnel to operate

So those were the things I tried to keep in mind.  First, I tried to made it simple to operate.  Next, I tried to keep it cheap but tough so it could (hopefully) survive multiple blasts, and finally it would be robotic or RC so it would pose little risk to people.

furrr teh lulz :)

Aren't mines burried? (except for trip wire) You should try burry them less then a centimeter under the ground. This would make a much more realistic video, and maybe some firecrackers for effect :)

   Like you said the trip wire is above the ground but the prongs from the the pronged mines are also.  Usually the pressure mines are under ground but so little that it would be very unimportant to have to do for the video.  I did make all the mines flush with the ground though. 

   I like the idea with the firecrackers though. =P

Nice idea. Remind me on my time in the army, 20 years ago. I was a pioneer and learned how to use all these different kind of mines, how to defuse them, how to use different explosives like TNT and Nitropenta.

In general there a two kind of anti-personnel mines. One you put under the turf. If you step on it, nothing happens, but if you try to step away it explodes. Another type is connected to a trip wire. If you contact the trip wire, the mine jumps out from the ground, maybe 1m heigh and explodes then with a lot of shrapnels (more fatal).

New kind of mines using electromagnetic fields. If you disturb the electromagnetic field (any body with a high content of water like the human body), it explodes.

Please let me add to that Marcus: if you ever run into one don't try stepping on it. In general there is no release trigger. You step and go boom :) no click, no ticking not even a led flashing but just the Valkyrie picking you up. The pressure release triggered ones are mainly found in vietnam movies and as IED's. Biggest problem is where they put them, normally somewhere in the bushes/trees next to the road (except for the anti tank ones). It will be hard to let a robot drive arround on that terrain as there are typically many obstacles. (Hey if you cross a frontline you want to stay out of sight and have some cover).

Get to work on a sprinkler system...