It may not be a huge issue here in the USA, but land mines and IEDs remaining a serious global problem. There have been many efforts to develop new technology to detect these dangers, such as using terahertz waves and inkjet-printable sensors.
But instead of relying on the development of new technology, some students at the Military University of Technology in Warsaw have sought to use an existing one in a new way with the development of their SAPER explosives detection app for smartphones.
“Saper” is the Polish term for “minesweeper” and, at the same time, an acronym for “Sensor Amplified Perception For Explosives Recognition.” The aptly named application uses the magnetometer – normally responsible for your phone’s compass-like functionality – to detect minute disturbances in the magnetic field around an explosive material. Forty different kinds of explosive materials can be sniffed out from 30 cm (11.8 inches) away.
The app connects to a cloud-based server and compares the recorded magnetic disturbance signature with other signatures in the database. If a threat is detected, the app returns a warning message and identifies the likelihood of there being a certain type of explosive material in the sampled area. GPS connectivity is used to pinpoint the site and to immediately alert the authorities. The threat alert message can also be automatically pushed to social networks.