Carey Rappaport, professor of electrical and computer engineering; associate director of CenSSIS
Margery Hines, doctoral student in engineering
Leftover landmines are a global menace, killing and maiming civilians in more than 70 countries every day, according to the U.N. Ground-penetrating radar, or GPR, has long promised to be a viable landmine-detection method, except for one problem: When GPR waves pass through air before entering the ground, they diffuse just enough to prevent accurate detection.
To get an informative GPR signal, says Hines, the radar needs to come into direct contact with the ground—dangerous business with landmines.
To use GPR to scope out a suspected minefield without putting people in harm’s way, Hines and Rappaport teamed up with Square One Systems, a leader in robotic automation, to build GPR into the feet of a lightweight, walking robot. The robot traverses an area in question, and radar signals are emitted into the ground to locate landmines.
The team is now incorporating an algorithm Hines developed for the radar system into the robot’s onboard computer.