However, there are other technologies being used that are decidedly more 21st Century. At Manchester University, Professor Anthony Peyton is busy looking for the premises that will house the new £5.5m state-of-the-art Centre for International Research for the Clearance of Landmines and Explosives (Circle). Peyton’s own project – Semis – which aims to turn the metal detector into a device that recognises and classifies mines, is due to start trials soon.
“We have used metal detectors since they were invented in World War Two and they are still the dominant device used by the community,” says Peyton, “The community knows them well, and understand them, but the limitations are quite considerable. What we are trying to do in Circle and the Semis programme is to develop the best electromagnetic technology and then combine it with other technology like ground-penetrating radar, commercial virtual reality headsets, helmet cams and drones.”