Low-cost Robot Designed for Safe Disposal of Unexploded Ordnance

Thousands of innocent civilians are killed each year by improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and explosive remnants of war (ERW) in dozens of countries with a legacy of conflict. Nations such as Cambodia struggle to remove millions of unexploded ordnance scattered across large swathes of territory. Clearing these volatile munitions is extremely dangerous and often beyond what some of the hardest-impacted countries can afford.

Golden West Humanitarian Foundation is an innovator in the global humanitarian mine action community, according to Cat Ramsey, a U.S. Department of State program manager for U.S. Conventional Weapons Destruction programs in East Asia and the Pacific.

“We are proud to support their efforts to leverage advanced technology to support safe and sustainable ordnance destruction in developing countries. Since 2013, we have partnered with them in Cambodia on the Global Engineering Initiative, a project which includes partners such as Villanova University, MIT, and the Singapore University of Technology and Design,” Ramsey said in a written statement.

The project partners are developing a low-cost explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) robot they hope to build after a round of financing raised through Kickstarter later this year. It is hoped that the robot will provide safe disposal of dangerous landmines and unexploded ordnance in countries like Cambodia.

Voices interviewed Allen Tan, Director, Design Lab, at Golden West Humanitarian Foundation, and Garrett Clayton, Associate Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, at Villanova University about the project.

DB: How does this new technology help address the situation?

GC: The low-cost nature of our EOD robot — under U.S.$8,000 compared to $50,000-$100,000 for commercial alternatives – allows developing world governments and municipalities as well as NGOs to have a viable alternative to having someone directly manipulate potentially dangerous unexploded ordnance.

AT: Robotic EOD tools provide tactical options that greatly increase the safety of those trying to —> Read More