EM Sensing Group showcases landmine detection research at Royal Society Exhibition

The University of Manchester's Electromagnetic (EM) Sensing Group has showcased its work relating to the production of landmine detection technologies at the Royal Society Summer Science 2021 Exhibition.

Academics, researchers and associated staff in the group exhibited their work, which featured interactive digital content and culminated with more than 40 participants building and testing DIY metal detectors in their homes.

The EM Sensing Group, part of the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, was initially selected to participate in the 2020 exhibition, but this was sadly postponed due to COVID-19. It instead took place as an online event in the summer of 2021.

Entitled Sensing Danger, the exhibition was built on a range of digital content relating to the work going on in the group, led by Professor Tony Peyton, which relates to the development of new technologies for the detection of landmines. The formation of the exhibition in this way opened up the content to wider and more diverse audiences.

The exhibition featured several aspects, much of which remains online for audiences to continue to access and interact with following the conclusion of the event. One of the main pieces of content was an online demining game, produced in partnership with Bare Knuckle Development, which served to highlight some of the challenges experienced by deminers, and the potential that technology can bring to characterise buried objects without the need for excavation.

Professor Peyton also recorded a 'lightning lecture' that highlighted key aspects of the research in a ten-minute video, and members of the EM Sensing Group were available to answer questions from the public.

The exhibition concluded with an online workshop, where 42 attendees were able to construct and test basic metal detectors. Attendees had pre-registered for the event online, and were sent kits by the group. The activity was designed by Dr Liam Marsh and Dr Michael O'Toole, with Dr O'Toole leading the workshop session, aided by researchers from the group.

Whilst the DIY metal detector workshop has been delivered in-person several times before, this was the first time where it had been done online, with remote participants. To see such a diverse range of adults, children and family groups taking part in this activity from their own homes was an incredible sight. 

The nature of this activity is such that the participants are able to keep their hardware, which can either be fully recycled or re-used. We hope that this session has sparked an interest for participants to explore ways in which their microcontrollers can be used for other exciting and interesting projects.
Dr Liam Marsh, Lecturer in Embedded Systems and co-designer of the DIY Metal Detector

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