Landmine, first widely used in the World War II, has been considered as one of the most dangerous weapons in the world. Since landmines were invented and used, millions of people have been killed or injured, large areas of lands cannot be utilized, and the environment has been seriously polluted. Due to frequent regional wars, various landmines have been buried in battlefields of many developing countries, and regrettably, there are still about 1 million of landmines being put into use every year.
According to nonofficial statistics, there are about 110 million landmines distributed worldwide in more than 70 countries as of December 2018.
Currently, metal, acoustic and radar detectors are often used in landmine detection to locate landmines with the judgement of demining personnel. Whereas, all these methods have obvious weaknesses and limitations, including substantial cost, high misdetection rates, susceptible to electromagnetic interference, etc.
Overall, just because of the danger of landmines and limitations of the current detection methods, there is an urgent and growing demand to develop a relatively safe, accurate, and efficient detection approach.
WHAT IS BOLD?
BOLD, a bio-optical landmine detection, is designed by our team as a new approach based on synthetic biology for landmine detection. It aims to assist manual landmine detection and removal, reduce the threat to human lives, make minefields for civilian use, and at the same time protect the global environment.
Our optical biological landmine detection device combines biological sensing, bioluminescence producing, and luminescence processing into one system. Engineered bacteria inside the device can sense 2,4-dinitrotoluene (DNT) and its metabolite 2,4,5-trihydroxytoluene (THT), and then emit bioluminescence, which can be captured by a photoresistor and then converted to electrical signal to be transformed into digital signal and received by our computer terminal. Finally, we can calculate the probability of landmine presence using an algorithm, determine their locations, and logically propose the best landmine clearance route.