Pedro from La Periferia Domestica was kind enough to draw my attention to this very interesting piece of design invented by Afghan designer Massoud Hassani. Called the Mine Sweeper, this sphere is conceived to move autonomously thanks to the wind -in a similar way than Theo Jansen’s Strandbeests- and explode the anti-personal land mines disseminated on a given terrain. The sphere is also equipped with a GPS sensor (see last picture below) that provides an output of the paths that have been cleared from the mines.
This sphere is a good assumed example of what I have been calling “weaponized design” for the last two years. The narrative carried by the Mine Sweeper has a violence within it, it triggers the mines explosion and probably suffers a bit more at each encounters. As every autonomous objects, it does not take much to imagine them as living being. This one traces safe trajectories that redefine the practice of a landscape, sacrificing itself as a fearless scout within a dangerous territory.
On the contrary of a lot of pieces of design proposing an interesting narrative (and as a designer I plead guilty just as much), this one is actually taking the means of its ambitions and is being tested with the Dutch army right now. There are still 270 millions of anti-personal land mines disseminated in the world and they keep injuring or killing people regularly (mostly in Angola, Cambodia and Afghanistan).