Instrumentation & Measurement Magazine 23-3 - 35

Innovating on Top of I&M
Fundamentals for Safer
Humanitarian Demining
Davorin Ambruš, Darko Vasic´, and Vedran Bilas

I

n this paper, we explain how the requirements for rigorous, well-defined standard operating procedures, and
simple, robust, inexpensive and easy-to-use detection
equipment affect key aspects of instrumentation and measurement (I&M) systems applied to landmine detection in
humanitarian demining. We also show how fundamental
knowledge in physics and I&M, as well as industry's practical know-how (accumulated over the past decades), can be
combined with new technological advancements to build devices with improved abilities to detect, characterize, classify
and locate buried hazardous objects. We use a handheld metal
detector as an illustrative showcase of a relatively simple, lowcost and well-established I&M technology. The challenge is to
upgrade such a device with object discrimination capabilities
by bringing scientific and technological innovations at three
different levels: signal level, feature extraction level and feature interpretation level.

Background on Demining Technology
Buried explosive devices, such as antipersonnel landmines
and unexploded ordnance (UXO), present a deadly legacy of
armed conflicts and a global humanitarian problem [1]. Once
left in the ground, such devices can remain operational years
after cessation of conflicts, inflicting heavy injuries or deaths
when triggered by a victim. Landmines and UXOs contaminate some 60 countries in different environmental settings
such as deserts, jungles or urban areas, where more than
60 million people are affected either directly, or indirectly
through restricted access to food, water or other basic human
needs. In spite of significant efforts engaged over the last two
decades to clear the world from buried explosive hazards, recent statistics reveal that mine accidents are on the rise again,
mostly due to recent conflicts in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan
[1]. Improvised explosive devices (IEDs), planted to act as industrial landmines, are another big threat that is becoming
more widespread, requiring adequate response from the mine
action community.
Humanitarian demining provides a set of activities aiming
to completely remove all of the explosive hazards from a given
May 2020	

area and make the land safe for the returning population. Unlike military demining, which is all about speed and reducing
the risk for a reasonably safe passage of troops, in humanitarian demining the focus is always on safety and thoroughness
so that ideally, no dangerous objects are left in the ground [2].
Consequently, mine clearance becomes an extremely laborintensive and time-consuming process. Since the demining is
normally performed by individuals who cannot be considered
highly-trained technical experts (e.g., ex-soldiers), and due to
the fact that humanitarian organizations usually operate on
tight budgets, demining work is based on two main pillars:
◗◗ rigorous, well-defined standard operating procedures,
and
◗◗ simple, robust, inexpensive and easy-to-use detection
equipment.

I&M Fundamentals and Demining
Industry's Know-How
Metal Detection
The oldest and still the most widely used method to detect buried landmines is based on the application of electromagnetic
induction (EMI) to detect their metal content such as igniting pins, detonator cases, or other metal parts of triggering
mechanisms [2]. EMI devices generate time-varying magnetic
fields and detect weak scattered fields emanating from eddy
currents and bound magnetization currents induced within
metallic objects. They typically operate in a low-frequency
(few kHz to tens of kHz) quasi-magnetostatic regime.
Since modern plastic encased mines feature extremely
low amounts of metal (making them cheaper to produce and
harder to detect), metal detectors (MDs) have evolved accordingly in terms of their sensitivity. State-of-the-art MDs which
are nowadays used in demining operations are typically able
to detect such low-metal mines up to reasonable depths (depending on operating conditions). However, their inability
to discriminate between metal parts of hazardous devices
and innocuous metallic clutter, such as battlefield debris and
shrapnel, leads to huge amount of false alarms. In practice,

IEEE Instrumentation & Measurement Magazine	35
1094-6969/20/$25.00©2020IEEE



Instrumentation & Measurement Magazine 23-3

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Instrumentation & Measurement Magazine 23-3

No label
Instrumentation & Measurement Magazine 23-3 - Cover1
Instrumentation & Measurement Magazine 23-3 - No label
Instrumentation & Measurement Magazine 23-3 - 2
Instrumentation & Measurement Magazine 23-3 - 3
Instrumentation & Measurement Magazine 23-3 - 4
Instrumentation & Measurement Magazine 23-3 - 5
Instrumentation & Measurement Magazine 23-3 - 6
Instrumentation & Measurement Magazine 23-3 - 7
Instrumentation & Measurement Magazine 23-3 - 8
Instrumentation & Measurement Magazine 23-3 - 9
Instrumentation & Measurement Magazine 23-3 - 10
Instrumentation & Measurement Magazine 23-3 - 11
Instrumentation & Measurement Magazine 23-3 - 12
Instrumentation & Measurement Magazine 23-3 - 13
Instrumentation & Measurement Magazine 23-3 - 14
Instrumentation & Measurement Magazine 23-3 - 15
Instrumentation & Measurement Magazine 23-3 - 16
Instrumentation & Measurement Magazine 23-3 - 17
Instrumentation & Measurement Magazine 23-3 - 18
Instrumentation & Measurement Magazine 23-3 - 19
Instrumentation & Measurement Magazine 23-3 - 20
Instrumentation & Measurement Magazine 23-3 - 21
Instrumentation & Measurement Magazine 23-3 - 22
Instrumentation & Measurement Magazine 23-3 - 23
Instrumentation & Measurement Magazine 23-3 - 24
Instrumentation & Measurement Magazine 23-3 - 25
Instrumentation & Measurement Magazine 23-3 - 26
Instrumentation & Measurement Magazine 23-3 - 27
Instrumentation & Measurement Magazine 23-3 - 28
Instrumentation & Measurement Magazine 23-3 - 29
Instrumentation & Measurement Magazine 23-3 - 30
Instrumentation & Measurement Magazine 23-3 - 31
Instrumentation & Measurement Magazine 23-3 - 32
Instrumentation & Measurement Magazine 23-3 - 33
Instrumentation & Measurement Magazine 23-3 - 34
Instrumentation & Measurement Magazine 23-3 - 35
Instrumentation & Measurement Magazine 23-3 - 36
Instrumentation & Measurement Magazine 23-3 - 37
Instrumentation & Measurement Magazine 23-3 - 38
Instrumentation & Measurement Magazine 23-3 - 39
Instrumentation & Measurement Magazine 23-3 - 40
Instrumentation & Measurement Magazine 23-3 - 41
Instrumentation & Measurement Magazine 23-3 - 42
Instrumentation & Measurement Magazine 23-3 - 43
https://www.nxtbook.com/allen/iamm/24-6
https://www.nxtbook.com/allen/iamm/24-5
https://www.nxtbook.com/allen/iamm/24-4
https://www.nxtbook.com/allen/iamm/24-3
https://www.nxtbook.com/allen/iamm/24-2
https://www.nxtbook.com/allen/iamm/24-1
https://www.nxtbook.com/allen/iamm/23-9
https://www.nxtbook.com/allen/iamm/23-8
https://www.nxtbook.com/allen/iamm/23-6
https://www.nxtbook.com/allen/iamm/23-5
https://www.nxtbook.com/allen/iamm/23-2
https://www.nxtbook.com/allen/iamm/23-3
https://www.nxtbook.com/allen/iamm/23-4
https://www.nxtbookmedia.com