So often, our excitement for new technology stems from how cool it is or how weird it is. What can get lost in that excitement is that (every once in a while) technology is used to save lives. That’s certainly the case in Colombia, where years of guerrilla warfare have littered the land with multitudes of landmines. The mines, which were often used to protect certain plantations or other structures, have maimed or killed more than 10,000 civilians and soldiers alike since 1990.\
To remove that many mines is a massive and (obviously) treacherous task, overwhelming in its scope. But until they’re removed, they remain dangerous to anyone who wanders Colombia. Landmines don’t discriminate. Bogota design firm Lemur Studio is well aware of this fact, so it’s been working on a stopgap solution for those living in Colombia.
The project, called SaveOneLife, has taken the form of a mine detector that fits inside of a shoe. It's made of a small coil of printed conductive material that produces an electromagnetic field. That field then interacts with other electromagnetic fields created by large pieces of metal (like landmines), and a small wristband that users wear gets a message if a landmine is nearby. The wristband itself looks like something out of Star Trek, where red dots represent the mines while green concentric circles represent the land around oneself. Just avoid the red dots (and thus mines and/or scrap metal), and you should be fine.
"The device was created with the goal of saving a life, hence the name, first by the families of the victims and second for the cost effects of military forces by the loss of his men in combat," says Iván Pérez, Lemur's creative director.
At present, it’s still a concept. But there’s no reason why it couldn't work, and it could save thousand of lives in war-torn countries. Here’s to hoping the world receives a little technology that can make it a safer place, rather than just that which allows us to send each other pictures of cats.