Mine clearing machine

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A previous thread suggested the contestants are stranded in the middle of a minfield and had to find a way out. Mine clearing is a huge challenge to the military, and all kinds of devices have been designed and built to try and deal with them.

Some catagories include plows, rollers, flails (very spectacular to watch), and "rakes", so there are lots of different ways to attack the problem.

The challenge, then, is to design and build a machine to clear a vehicle width path through a simulated minefield. To keep it in the 10 hr limit, issue the teams with a suitable ex military vehicle to modify/bodge/add to (anything like a 3/4 ton truck, jeep or HUMMER, depending on the producers budget). This also sets the parameters of how wide the cleared path has to be.

The simulated minefield can be set up by the military using dummy mines (I'm pretty sure there are plenty of units in the Army, Marines or National Guard who would be pleased to do this to train their own troops), and the winner is determined by which team clears the most mines from the path in one hour. (Miss any mines in your path, and you loose).

Some factors to add to the challenge would be the type of soil, depth of the mines and type of mines (some mines are designed to resist mine clearing operations, such as "double impulse" mines, which are ARMED by a roller passing over them...). Teams could not just slap a dozer blade on the front of a truck, they also have to factor in keeping a constant blade depth, traction etc.

-- Arthur Majoor (a_majoor@hotmail.com), March 12, 2001


Cool idea! I especially like the idea of using dummy mines and causing spouts of dirt and smoke to explode if the teams miss a mine. It'd be really cool to watch.


-- Ben Schleimer (bensch@uclink4.berkeley.edu), March 12, 2001.

Hmmm, if a team came up with a super duper mine clearing device, who would get the $ if someone wanted to buy the design? :)

-- Gregg Eshelman (gregg1@valint.net), March 12, 2001.

I agree on this one. This could easily lead to some great designs right out of the junkyard. And, the actual challange would be great action! How about the contest being two large fields, each with 10 mines - the winner being the first machine to blow up all ten mines without "blowing" itself up. Otherwise, the winner goes to the machine that blows up the most mines safely, before breaking or getting "blown" up.

-- Devin T. Ross (dross@telerama.com), March 13, 2001.

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