Picture a giant, spiky tumbleweed from another planet and you get an idea what Massoud Hassani's Mine Kafon looks like. The project to bring cheap and easy-to-build mine detonators to Afghan minefields has just surpassed its Kickstarter goal of 100,000 GBP (approximately 161,000 USD).
Hassani, a graduate of Design Academy Eindhoven who grew up in Kabul, Afghanistan, created the Mine Kafon from bamboo and biodegradable plastic. Light enough to be propelled by the wind, the detonator is also heavy enough to set off mines as it rolls over them with its round feet.
"Every ball has GPS navigation integrated into it," he says. "You can see the balls on the internet, so you can see where they went and how many mines they touched. You can also select an area and it will calculate how safe the area is."
This year, a full-scale mock-up was tested in the deserts around Morocco. The detonator, which will cost as little as $40 to produce, loses only a few legs with each detonation so it it can destroy three or four landmines in one journey.
Whether the Mine Kafon will ever be widely employed is anyone's guess, but strikingly-designed structure has already brought the issue of landmines to new audiences in the design world. It will enjoy a run at New York's prestigious Museum of Modern Art starting in March.
"The design industry is perhaps too focused on tables and chairs," said Hassani. "I think we can use our talents to find design-based solutions to more serious problems."