Inspired by handmade wind-powered toys that he and his neighborhood friends lost in minefields in Qasaba, Kabul as children, designer Massoud Hassani revisits his homeland with an updated design of the toy that beautifully detects and destroys the mines.
The Mine Kafon
In general, the professional removal of a single mine costs over $1,000, and can take days or weeks to be effective. Considering that there are over 10 million mines in Afghanistan alone, that becomes not only an expensive task but a tedious one as well.
In contrast, Mine Kafon will cost around $40 when it’s put into production, and can sustain up to four explosions before needing to be replaced. Having undergone two years of testing under the Dutch government, the project is finally coming to light as Massoud prepares for a Kickstarter launch in the coming weeks.
The design consists of 70 bamboo and rubber legs that awkwardly yet beautifully shuffle over the landscape powered by nothing but the wind. A GPS system onboard is used to record and map the locations, so swept locations can be recorded as ‘safe-zones’.
“I grew up in Qasaba, Kabul. My family moved there when I was 5, and at the time there were several wars going on. My brother Mahmud and I we played every day on the fields surrounded with the highest mountains in our neighbourhood.
When we were young we learned to make our own toys. One of my favourites was a small rolling object that was wind-powered. We used to race against the other kids on the fields around our neighbourhood. There was always a strong wind waving towards the mountains. While we were racing against each other, our toys rolled too fast and too far. Mostly they landed in areas where we couldn’t go rescue them because of landmines. I still remember those toys I’d made that we lost and watching them just beyond where we could go.
Almost 20 years later, I went back to Qasaba and made those toys again. That was my graduation project for the Design Academy Eindhoven (2011). I remade one, making it 20 times bigger as well as heaver and stronger. Powered by the wind, it’s meant for the same areas which were (and still are) full of mines.
Now if it rolls over a mine, the toy, now a Mine Kafon, will destroy itself and the landmine in the same time. Made from bamboo and biodegradable plastics, the Mine Kafon also has a GPS chip integrated in it. You can follow its movement on the website and see were it went, where are the safest paths to walk on and how many land mines are destroyed in that area. On paper, Afghanistan is said to have 10 million land mines. In truth there are far, far more. Every destroyed land mine means a saved life and every life counts.”
-Designer Massoud Hassani
Additionally, THE MINE KAFON is a Semifinalist in the $200,000 FOCUS FORWARD Filmmaker Competition and is in the running to become the $100,000 Grand Prize Winner. Directed by conceptual filmmaker Callum Cooper, the short documentary provides a portrait of a designer who returned to his homeland to create a better future for the children of today. Additionally, Mine Kafon will be part of the collection at MoMA and Hassani will also have an exposition at the museum in March 2013.