A former army bomb disposal expert who has also been blown up has devised a new smart phone app to help travellers avoid treading on mines.
Richard Stevens, 42, spent 22 years in the Royal Engineers defusing explosives in locations around the world.And now as a civilian he has developed the app that gives users tips on how to spot mines, how to avoid them and what to do if they wander into a minefield.
It pictures and lists all known mines and bombs that cause death and disability every day in many parts of the world, including Europe.
Its database is constantly updated with all new information and it is targeted at civilian travellers, those who live in areas scattered with mines and even the military. Richard is also hoping to develop an Arabic version of the app and wants to save as many lives and limbs as possible.
He says many people are unaware just how many places are littered with mines, and not just in current war-torn countries.
The robot built from household junk and a Playstation which can help sweep for underwater mines.It could be a long week... Apple fans start queuing for iPhone 5 sale next Friday (should someone tell them they can order online today?) He said that even in Britain there is a risk of being blown up by mines, some of which remain from World War Two.
Richard, from Whiteparish, Hants, works as a civilian improvised explosive devices consultant and set up the 'Landmine Awareness' app through his company CAT-UXO. He said: 'When I was in Libya another de-miner was sadly killed and it highlighted that we had no information on this mine.
'We went to great lengths to gather information about it and that is what prompted me to develop the app.'I spent 22 years as a Royal Engineer in bomb disposal and these mines are killing and maiming people all the time. The app has a database of mines from around the world and how to spot them.
The app gives users tips on how to spot mines, how to avoid them and what to do if they wander into a minefield. 'Recently I was training and observing in Afghanistan when my vehicle was hit and I came out of the top and suffered injured ribs and scraped hands.
'I was very lucky.
'There are also a few misconceptions about mines and one is that they are a danger in only war-torn countries.'But they are found throughout south east Asia, Africa and the Middle East as well as in Europe. 'There is even a mine threat in the UK from ones that were laid in the war in case of German invasion.'Another misconception is that people in third world countries don’t have smart phones and would be able to use the app, but that is not so. 'Burma is now opening up and they are still laying mines there.'And recently 28 people were killed by mines in Egypt when their bus hit a mine.
'Every day across the world 20 people are killed or injured due to landmines.'
The app is free to download initially then subsequent information costs just a few pounds.