In Sweden, a pair of Colombian researchers have developed a way to remotely detonate land mines that is not only reliable but that is done at such a distance to keep the operator safe.
Being from Columbia, both Félix Vega and Nicolas Mora had an incentive to come up with a solution that was effective for combating the massive number of unexploded land mines that litter our world. In countries like Columbia and Afghanistan, land mines kill or injure thousands of people per year and are many of them are IEDs or other cobbled-together explosives that do not follow standard military protocols and are exceedingly dangerous both to detect and detonate.
Vega and Mora had two problems to overcome - blowing up the mines at a distance and making sure that all possible mines in an area had been detonated. Detonating them meant using an EM pulse sent out strongly enough that it would trigger the detonators contained in the mine itself, but Vega and Mora quickly realized that trying to broad-spectrum this pusle to account for the widest possible range of frequencies also made it ineffective in destroying mines; it was simply too weak.
Because of the home-made nature of many of these mines, the researchers were concerned that a shorter spectrum of frequencies would not catch them all. As it turns out, even home bomb makers tend to end up with their mines in a very narrow range of frequencies, something Vega and Mora were quick to realize and exploit.
After two years, they were able to test their device on a number of IEDs created by a professional bomb squad and detonate them at an average of 20 meters. The next challenge, say the Colombians, is to create a smaller, more durable unit that can be used in poor weather conditions and for long periods of time.
Land mines are a serious concern in many parts of the world and a legacy from a number of conflicts, and Vega and Mora should both be commended for such an effort.