USRI and IGEHM join forces to battle ongoing issue
Tuesday, May 3, 2022
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The Unmanned Systems Research Institute (USRI) in the College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology has partnered with the Oklahoma State University Institute for Global Explosive Hazard Mitigation (IGEHM), a worldwide institute led by the OSU Center for Fire and Explosives, Forensic Investigation, Training and Research (CENFEX).
CENFEX is based at the OSU Center for Health Sciences campus in Tulsa and offered its expertise in unmanned systems to help solve the universal issue of detecting and disposing of landmines, unexploded ordnance (UXO) and explosive remnants of war.
Thousands of people are killed or injured by explosive remnants of war every year. IGEHM, which was formed in June 2021, aims to become a world leader in land mine mitigation, detection of unexploded ordnance and post conflict trauma support. Its goal is to become a hub for expertise and knowledge both in the United States and globally.
“As former EODs or bomb technicians, we all feel like this is our mission, our calling, and a way to give back,” said Dr. John Frucci, director of IGEHM. “Innocent civilians and bomb disposal operators are impacted daily by remnants of war, and we want to help fix that.”
The act of detection and disposal of UXO is a tedious and expensive endeavor. The development of technology to expedite and improve this dangerous mission has, until recently, been a slow process.
“At the current rate of detection and disposal, it could take 1,000 years to clear all unexploded ordnance and remnants of war,” Frucci said. “That’s why we’ve developed partnerships with leaders and experts, like USRI, to help develop new technology to make this faster and safer for the operators in the field.”
Dr. Jamey Jacob, the director of USRI, hopes that his teams’ expertise in unmanned systems can provide detection, mapping and disposal technologies that will increase the safety and efficiency for operators around the world.
“We are able to adapt sensor technologies and vehicle configurations that we are very familiar with to this new area of focus without much need for new hardware development,” Jacob said. “Use of drones equipped with image processing and machine learning algorithms can assist not only in the detection of mines, but also assist in forensic evaluation of blasts after the fact.”
The use of typical visual sensors, along with infrared and LIDAR technology will be extremely beneficial to creating a well-rounded view of an area, thus making it easier to detect, investigate and dispose of any anomalies or discovered ordnance.
Numerous regions around the globe are faced with the dangers of remnants of war and unexploded ordnance, none more prevalent and ongoing than the conflict in Ukraine. Through IGEHM and its partners, OSU is providing technical knowledge, training and other support to operators in the region facing unique detection, investigation and disposal situations created by the conflict.
“We’re doing what we can — within strict guidelines — to help in any way we can, for both our personnel and others directly impacted by the conflict,” Frucci said.
IGEHM also partners with Johns Hopkins Whiting School of Engineering, Golden West Humanitarian Foundation, Platinum East and Bomb Techs Without Borders, in additon to their affiliate members: VTO Labs, Deep Analytics and Demining Research Community. IGEHM hopes that partnerships, like these, will help build a knowledge and information catalog that can be accessed by anyone around the world that needs help with detecting, identifying and disposing of any ordnance they may come across.
“This partnership exemplifies our land-grant and Tier 1 missions,” Jacob said. “This project, more so than any other project we’ve worked on, really embodies the spirit of doing good with drones.”
To learn more about IGEHM, visit their website: medicine.okstate.edu/forensics/global-explosive-hazard-mitigation/index.html
If interested in supporting this effort through charitable donations, please contact the OSU Foundation at firstname.lastname@example.org.