A lab in Cambodia is using cutting-edge technologies such as virtual reality, augmented reality, machine learning, swarm robotics and 3-D printing to try and revolutionize bomb disposal.
The suite of products developed by Golden West Humanitarian Foundation’s Phnom Penh lab, in collaboration with universities such as Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Villanova, are designed to mesh all these technologies together into a “total knowledge” toolkit for deminers.
Replica bombs created on 3-D printers in Phnom Penh that reveal the precise inner mechanics of a growing range of killing machines have already been sold to clients around the world, including the United Nations and the United States military.
Before that, Cambodian teams pioneered explosive ordinance harvesting, in which material recovered from unexploded bombs is recast into detonators used in the field to destroy mines and UXO, or unexploded ordnance.
Now Golden West, which is funded by the U.S. State Department’s Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement, has turned its sights to the virtual world.
Cambodian-American Alan Tan, a former U.S. army bomb disposal tech and director of applied technology at Golden West, said Cambodians are using their country’s painful experience to become world leaders in solving the crippling problem of explosive war remnants disposal.
“We’re bringing this deeper and more thorough knowledge to our field, and I like to say democratizing explosive ordinance disposal so any country that has that need can have that need addressed even if they don’t have a multibillion-dollar military budget to do it,” he said.