Landmines have been branded the ultimate indiscriminate killer. They have claimed or impacted the lives of many people in mine-affected countries throughout the world – regardless of age, gender or race
According to the 2011 Landmine Monitor Report by the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL), there were over 4 000 landmine-related casualties recorded worldwide in 2010. Furthermore, the ICBL stated that while the Mine Ban Treaty has 160 signatory parties, there are still three countries actively laying antipersonnel mines, while 12 countries have been identified as active antipersonnel mine producers.
At last review in August 2011, twenty countries within the African continent remain mine affected.
Against this backdrop of the severity of the threat, the CSIR has undertaken work to investigate and quantify the injury mechanisms resulting from the detonation of antipersonnel blast mines. The research resulted in the development of a
human surrogate lower leg which approximates an actual human leg in terms of geometry and the type of materials selected for its construction. The surrogate leg is intended for destructive testing to assess the degree of tissue and bone damage sustained, as well as to estimate the potential levels of amputation. It differs from other surrogate legs in that it employs a unique sensor system capable of measuring the shock or stress wave progression through the leg in microseconds.
The sensor system is under ongoing development and refinement.Using the surrogate lower leg with a newly developed test and evaluation system, the CSIR is in the process of developing a prototype ‘mine boot’. The intention is to develop a boot that can prevent any amputation in the event of small antipersonnel mine detonations as well as to mitigate tissue and bone damage during larger antipersonnel mine detonations, as far as possible. The prototype mine boot is in the final stages of testing and development. It is envisioned that the final product will be available in both full boot and strap-on-sole user options, making it applicable to commercial demining activities as well as military use where mobility cannot be restricted with permanent heavy equipment. Potential commercial partners are welcome to contact the CSIR.