All entries for Thursday 06 July 2006

July 06, 2006

Where landmines save lives

Writing about web page

I know most people here will be against landmines, so no doubt the news which emerged recently that a “self healing” minefield will not be seen as a good thing by many people here. But this is good news. The basic idea is that you can set a field with mines in it, the mines stay in contact with each other and when a breach occurs the other mines move to seal the breach and maintain the cover. I was at first dubious about such an idea, but I read what one of the software developers for the project said about it and now feel convinced that it is a good thing.

The developer said:

In any case, the story we got was: normally, anti–tank mines are surrounded by anti–personnel mines. Anti–tank mines have magnetic triggers and are (relatively) safe for people: they are vulnerable to simply being picked up and moved out of the way. So the anti–tank mines are surrounded by APLMs to prevent the enemy from trivially disabling the field. APLMs are the nasty ones that kill kids decades later. So in an effort to reduce the number of APLMs deployed DARPA tried this crazy idea of making self–healing anti–tank mines. in other words, since the anti–tank mines can protect themselves by moving, the anti–personnel mines are no longer necessary. And the world gets a little better. This was a heck of a project to work on.

which is certainly an interesting idea and I'm convinced that this will make war a slightly nicer experience for civilians after it has finished.

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