In these two European countries, Bosnia and Herzegovina, there are said to be 80K landmines still active and ready to blow the ribs of anyone venturing nearby. As for Croatia, there are said to be 30K. Now, to transform such deadly devices into harmless circuits, is said to be a pick-and-shovel task which would take years. But then, equipped with cutting-edge technology, difference and relief can be expected.
Detecting the fact that their antennas have a great leaning towards the scent of explosives, scientists in Croatia, detonated their research and efforts towards a possibility of using them as a crucial and reliable whistleblower to deadly landmines. As they swish merrily in the open, which is otherwise a dangerous zone because of landmines’ presence, it won’t be a great idea for humans to run after them across the stretch.
Now, such is the point and place as well as the place in point, where drones are sent high into the air. Bunch of researchers with ties to Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia have placed their hands of trust on bees, which would be chased by drones. Now, such vehicles can glide swiftly in air ad would click the images of whatever bees do while tracking their movement, which would then be transferred to researchers for analysis to uncover the exact dangerous spots keeping landmines hidden inside.
Actually, there were disastrous wars that took place decades ago, during which landmines were planted in a large number. In fact, Balkan’s wars witnessed thousands of such killing circuit units, that were put underground, waiting to be stepped over and then, BOOOOOOM !!!
Mr. Vladimir Risojevic, who works at University of Banja Luka, in Bosnia and Herzegovina mentions, “We wanted to try to exclude humans from potential danger and try to use drones”.
Earlier too, efforts were made by fellow researchers to domesticate bees to spot landmines.
In the wide grounds, bees huddle together, close to landmines, thinking lucky about eatables to be found there. Such efforts are relentless but now Prof Vladimir intends to bring computers in, ao A to automate analysis of bees’ movement and to unhide their pursuits targeted towards mines and to uncover the mines eventually.
Even such a move has given way to a range of challenges to flourish, as Prof Vladimir declares, “It’s very difficult for human observers to find these flying bees in this video footage let alone computer vision systems.
There were moments when I thought that we are outright crazy for trying to do that but I am pleasantly surprised with the results that we obtained.”
Setting out on project, footage of the stretch was captured soaked with artificial bees made of synthetic and were exclusively designed for the culmination of the project, which were in fact, teeny-weeny blobs reflecting grey shade.
Now, when gained confidence that such blobs were just like real natural bees, the crew started refining their machine learning algo to get acquainted with blobs on the screen.
As a relief, the algo’s output was 80% in accuracy as it went after the digital bees, as per report published in media.
The researchers then headed to real minefield which had mines defused at various locations, and thus, it was considered to be safe zone while scientists wanted to test the system’s performance too, when real grounds were in question while considering authentic situations. However, complete details about the outcome of the test have not surfaced in public domain and awaits reporting but Prof Risojevic has observed a close association between the place bees gather and points of mines (that were in known earlier) at testing ground.
As of now, drones push the systems forward while flying on a specific route, careening the ground cultivated with mines and record bee’s footage as they whizz around. Later on, bee assembly is located on analysing the footage.
Prof Risojevic maintains that we are still some years away when such drones and process will be put in places blighted with ghastly and active mines. But he is still full of hope that other demining efforts could get a boost through it.
Conventionally and also till date, devices used to demine (and demean mines) are metal detectors, hand-held that come fixed with radars that would pervade into the grounds.
However, the downside is that such technology can fall short of detecting and uncovering every single mine and the demining teams can sneak into dark about the clearance of all mines from the infected dangerous and targeted zone.
Now here, with such bees and drones on our side, cross checking can be done later-on, on such grounds with minefields earlier, to verify if all of the mines have been made ineffective.
Clearing the air of doubt, Mr. Matthew Breay Bolton, who works at Pace University in New York, remarks, “Good technological innovation that can help to….delineate the boundaries and confirm a hazard area are really helpful”. He has also authored a book, “Political Minefields: The Struggle Against Automated Killing”.
He also covered the fact that no instant solution is developed by us till to address minefield problem. There are times, when such projects are put on hold, owing to political differences and also due to dearth of resources, despite premium technologies with us. Besides, there are countries, like Yemen, where mines are being still laid out for innocents to be laid in rest.
Other than this, a few of other uses have been uncovered for such drones.
In wilderness, researchers of IT vision have carried out experiments with certain systems that would track insects. As for pollinators’ monitoring, Prof Riso is hopeful while his team basks under enthusiasm. These are the insects, which are pretty critical for the crops’ health and also crucial for ecosystems, but pollution caused by us in large amount has sent their number dwindling.
Imagine the real life scenario, machines and insects work in tandem towards common goals, wow !!!