The Mine Kafon: A Low-Cost, Wind-Powered Minefield Clearing Device Hits Kickstarter

We brought you a video back at the end of November that showed off Massoud Hassani’s mine-clearing device, the Mine Kafon, based on a wind-powered child’s toy. Now, the Afghan industrial designer has taken the suggestions of a number of our commenters and put the project on Kickstarter. Hassani is looking for £100,000 to make the Kafons and document the process.

While the Mine Kafon is cheaper to produce than more traditional methods of clearing minefields, owing to rather simplified construction using bamboo that harnesses wind motor for locomotion, Hassani still needs startup funds to get the project going at a scale where it will be useful to residents of his home country of Afghanistan, and other war-torn locations where there are still hundreds of buried mines left to be cleared. The Kickstarter project is designed to take Hassani’s concept and make it a practically deployable device.

The funding will go to bettering the engineering of the basic prototype, including improvements to GPS accuracy and improvement of overall durability (the Kafon is intended to survive multiple mine detonations, not just one), as well as mold-making and fabrication costs. It also accounts for money set aside for providing backer rewards, which include lamps designed by Hassani which use the same mold that creates the Mine Kafon’s feet. Finally, some of the budget will go towards a film documenting the construction and deployment process.

This is one of those rare hardware Kickstarter projects where backers won’t walk away with the shipping device (though you do get a 1/4th scale model at the £5,000 pledge level). But the point is that for most who back this, you won’t likely be in a position to actually need the Mine Kafon’s services. Usually there’s a degree of risk with backing Kickstarter projects, but in this case, even if it helps put only one Mine Kafon on the ground, the risk is more than justified.