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Lemur Studio Design develops mine detector in a shoe


January 26, 2014

The SaveOneLife system

The SaveOneLife system

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Boot insoles can turn a pair of really uncomfortable brogues into podiatric clouds that can take a long hike and remove the foot ache. Now, Lemur Studio Design based in Bogota, Colombia, has come up with a concept for insoles that won’t just save your instep, but could save your life. A submission to the World Design Impact Prize 2013-2014 competition, SaveOneLife is a wearable mine detector that fits in a shoe and warns the wearer if and where a potentially deadly landmine might lurk nearby.

Colombia has a major landmine problem. According to the International Campaign to ban Landmines (ICBL), the country is the second most mined in the world after Afghanistan, with over 10,000 casualties since 1990, including about 2,000 killed. Anti-government rebel groups have strewn antipersonnel and antivehicle mines along roads and foot trails, near government bases, in rural areas, around schools, houses, national parks, and indigenous communities’ land. The problem is made worse by drug gangs using mines to protect their coca farms from intruders.

This widespread, often indiscriminate mining combined with the mountainous jungle terrain of the region make detecting and clearing landmines extremely difficult. The notoriously dangerous job requires money, special equipment, and expert crews. It’s a long, slow task that even under the best conditions can take decades to complete. Meanwhile, soldiers, coca eradication teams, farmers, and people in general are at daily risk of being maimed or killed.

According to the designers, SaveOneLife isn’t a solution to the problem, but more of a stopgap technology to reduce the danger from antipersonnel mines. It works on the principle of a metal detector. The insole is made of a conductive material and has a planar coil printed on it. This produces an electromagnetic field. When the wearer walks within two meters (6.5 ft) of a mine containing metal parts, this disrupts the field and is detected by a microprocessor, which is also printed on the insole, as is a radio transmitter. The transmitter sends a signal to a wristwatch-like readout that sounds an alarm and displays the location of the mine on a small screen.

SaveOneLife was designed by Iván Pérez under project leader Lorena Cárdenas. It’s currently at a conceptual stage due to economic reasons, but is designed to be as realistic as possible with the aim of providing a template for eventually coming up with a practical, life-saving device based on nanotechnology.

Source: Lemur Studio Design via Co.Exist

About the Author
David Szondy David Szondy is a freelance writer based in Monroe, Washington. An award-winning playwright, he has contributed to Charged and iQ magazine and is the author of the website Tales of Future Past. All articles by David Szondy

Neat idea. Seems like something that would yield to crowd sourcing - sell version 1 to consumer metal detector customers like beach combers for instance. Will it go in a flipflop :-) ? The display could be a bluetooth connected app on a smart phone (or smartwatch).

However, modern landmines do not contain much metal.

Bob Ehresman

Like Bob said, modern landmines don't contain metal, but these should definitely help with finding the millions of older ones that are still in the dirt in many places.

Joel Detrow

Is is a bit 'Irish" like the parachute that opens on impact.

Sean Moore

I imagine those that need it the most won't be able to afford it, but certainly a 'step' in the right direction.

Martin Hone

I don't understand this at all.

If the technology is so great then why not make a hand-held detector out of it - on a long stick that people can hold a good distance away from them, rather than walking right over the mine first.

Putting it in boot soles is like detecting for the presence of gas by lighting a match!


For defense & civilian use, must for those countries with heavy minefield still left from prior wars alone Be huge for Africa, Asia & Mideast alone.

Stephen Russell

Wouldn’t any shoe count as mine detecting. Step, step, BOOM!!

Ryan Saunders

People should be able to better than this! You would have to walk very slowly to avoid stepping too close before you realise.

The Skud

Bit late when you step on it!

Philip Morgan

Good idea for older mines if it really has a six foot warning. One problem I see is anywhere people have lived for any amount of time has metal pieces of junk underground all over the place. These would signal so many false alarms the wearer would get tired of it. Just ask anyone who has operated a metal detector how much junk, from coins to pull tabs and bottle caps, are in the ground. In fresh areas it could be useful though.

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