iPhone Used to Find Land Mines
Computer scientists from Harvards School of Engineering and Applied Sciences have come up with an incredibly unique use for the iPhone; finding landmines. Actually, it’s an iPhone app, and it works by using audio signals from traditional metal detectors to create a visual image of metallic objects in the ground, making it easier for minesweepers to differentiate between a deadly landmine and a harmless piece of metal.
The aim of the iPhone minesweeper tool, called PETALS for Pattern Enhancement Tool for Assisting Land Mine Sensing, is to bring an affordable land mine detection system to regions of the world where resources are highly constrained, and the engineers found the most cost effective way to do this was by using a ubiquitous platform like the smartphone. The end result is a significant efficiency boost in both detection and training of new minesweepers:
In addition to increasing search efficiency, PETALS has the potential to help train new de-miners. In initial tests, novice de-miners performed 80 percent better with visual aid.
Is this one of the most impressive uses of an iPhone or what? I’m sure this is far out of the range of what Apple expected the iPhone and iOS platform to do when they created it, but this kind of thing exemplifies what Apple’s message has been in the newest iPad commercials that suggest the hardware is what people make of it. Amazing stuff.