Through a successful Kickstarter campaign, the Afghan designer Massoud Hassani will be able to improve his Mine Kafon prototype with the hope of testing it near the minefields of Kabul in August 2013.

Just under a year ago, in Issue 39, we featured an article on Mine Kafon, which at that stage was still very much a prototype, having recently been designed by Massoud Hassani as his graduation project at the Design Academy of Eindhoven in the Netherlands.

His landmine decommissioning device simply consisted of 200 or so bamboo sticks protruding from an inner core with biodegradable plastic discs fitted to the end of each stick. The idea is that, as this lightweight design rolls across a minefield, pushed along naturally by the wind, it will detonate landmines in its path.

The inspiration came from Hassani’s childhood growing up in Kabul where he, his brother and friends would make small rolling wind-powered toys that they’d race against each other across the desert. However, they had to take care to stay away from the nearby minefields, which, like many other parts of the world, are riddled with landmines.

Over the past year, the Mine Kafon project has received a great deal of interest, with the prototype being exhibited at various events, such as the Dutch Design Week and the London Design Museum. It has even been purchased by The Museum of Modern Art in New York to be featured in its permanent collection.

However, although Hassani has been grateful and humbled by all of the attention that his design has received, he designed it with the hope of deploying it in an actual minefield. As he hadn’t been able to secure any investment in order to make it into a fully functioning prototype, he decided to launch a campaign on the crowd-funding website Kickstarter. He set a funding goal of £100,000, which would enable him to get engineers onboard to improve the design, develop a GPS core in order to track the device, create a team to fabricate it and then ultimately test it in a minefield.

As Hassani says, “My ultimate goal is to release Mine Kafon on the minefields and raise awareness of this global issue because one less landmine means one saved life.”

He is now one step closer to his goal as he managed to reach his funding target on Kickstarter with 4169 backers pledging £119,456.

The plan now is to develop his design and then in August 2013 take it to the minefields near Kabul – in those areas of the desert he wasn’t allowed to play in as a child – in order to test it.

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