Metal detector operators, landmine probes, and animals trained to sniff out explosives are the most common (and least expensive) ways to detect landmines before it’s too late. But all of these methods require being within relatively close proximity to the mine. Klymenko’s solution was to devise a system that could detect mines from above-ground and wouldn’t require putting people or animals in harm’s way.
His invention begins with a 4DRC F5 PRO quadcopter—an inexpensive, commercially available drone often used for photography and videography. Klymenko built a custom metal detector to hang from the drone as it flies. Before lift-off, the drone records its static GPS coordinates and waits for Klymenko to set a geographical search radius.
Once the attached metal detector has located a landmine, it sends an infrared signal to a phototransistor on a user-operated Arduino board. Klymenko wrote a C++ code to determine the landmine’s GPS coordinates based on the drone’s speed as well as the length of time between its initial GPS scan and the infrared signal’s receipt. These coordinates, which reliably fall within two centimeters of accuracy, can help civilians avoid landmines and guide professional deminers once the war has ended.
Klymenko hopes to enhance his invention by adding a few key features. A spray paint system would allow the drone to mark the landmines’ locations on the ground, while a ground-penetrating radar would further improve the detector’s accuracy. Klymenko might even someday introduce AI to determine the exact type of landmine, as well as a detonation system to prevent located mines from injuring people. Despite working toward degrees in computer science, math, and machine building at the University of Alberta and the Kyiv Polytechnic Institute, Klymenko aims to have a scalable product by the end of the year.