A new high-tech land-mine detector will be tested in Cambodia by the end of the year, said William Longe, the program manager for the Halo Trust.
But there’s some concern that the product may not fit the needs of local land-mine detection, officials from the demining group said.
The Mine Eye was developed by the Japan Alliance for Humanitarian Demining Support in conjunction with several electronics companies, according to a May statement from the group.
The machine has a 700-gram hand-held scanner with a liquid crystal display monitor designed to work in the bright sun. It provides information on the depth, shape and composition of the mines. The machine uses ground-penetrating radar—the same technology used to test the structure of bridges.
“It might be useful. It might not. It might give us too much information…It might not work with Cambodian soil,” Longe said.
He stressed that even if the machine does work, it may not be appropriate for the Halo Trust’s needs. Demining is currently done with a variety of tools including metal detectors that use an electromagnetic pulse.
“What we have now works,” Longe said.
Other mine experts expressed reservations that the device may require technical skills or spare parts not available locally. “We prefer to use equipment that is tried and tested,” Simon Conway, the location manager for the Halo Trust in Banteay Meanchey province said in June when discussions to test the machine had not been completed.
“I’m wary of some things that come out of people’s workshops. Spare parts can sometimes sit in customs for four months in Cambodia. I’ll look at it with an open mind. It could be a useful addition to a deminers tool kit. What I need is a piece of rugged kit that doesn’t need an [expatriate] to look after it,” he said.