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Wind-powered ‘toy’ blows up land mines

A wind-powered mine sweeper made out of biodegradable plastic and bamboo parts rolls across the Afghanistan desert.screen grab via YouTube

As a child, Massoud Hassani raced small rolling objects across the wind-swept desert on the outskirts of Kabul, Afghanistan. Most were lost in no-go zones littered with land mines. He’s now invented a wind-powered mine sweeper inspired from his childhood toys which charts a safe course through the desert.

The invention, called Mine Kafon, is about 20 times bigger than his childhood toys, as well as heavier and stronger. It is made of bamboo and biodegradable plastic. When it rolls over a land mine, the explosive detonates, blowing off a few of the ball's dandelion-puff-like bamboo stems. 

The ball can roll over several mines before it stops working. An embedded GPS tracker allows owners to follow its progress on the Web and discover the safest paths. 

The Mine Kafon was Hassani’s graduation project at the Design Academy Eindhoven in the Netherlands, a program he landed in after his mother spirited him out of war-torn Afghanistan. Director Callum Cooper made a short film about the project. Check it out, or watch the trailer below.

Hassini is currently seeking collaborators and financial backer to begin production of the Mine Kafon. Materials cost for each is about $50.

 – via TechCrunch 

John Roach is a contributing writer for NBC News Digital. To learn more about him, check out his website. For more of our Future of Technology series, watch the featured video below.