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Project Motivation
Personal note

During our iGEM project and especially during brainstorming period I faced a new type of feelings and dilemmas. That was the first time in my life when I had the real power to do something what might change some routine events flow in everyday life of some people. At the same time I could use this time and power to solve some other problems which are not less important than any other problems but are more academical and might turn useful only after decades or just disappear in the river of scientific discoveries. I could spend this 10 weeks just to create something funny what might make people who saw our achievment smile every time they think about it. There is nothing harder then to make people smile about something kind, without any evil underlying idea which might be funny for somebody and not too funny for somebody else.

Personally, I wanted to do everything. Why not to cure the cancer? Why not to prove that robots are just the step of evolution of mind and soul? Why not to create the bacteria which helps you to wash dishes? As the member of the team I clearly understood that we need to adjust our personal desires and interests. I don't know how my teammates solved their personal dilemmas, but I did it quite easily. I have a theory that a greatest gift human being got from Nature is its ability to transform the energy. Energy by itself is neutral and only human being can transform it into positive energy which inspires everybody around, or into negative energy which demoralizes everybody including the person who created it. I knew exactly that if there will be a choice between projects I would prefer the one which might help people to solve their everyday problems, because life is too short and amount of positive energy I created so far is not impressive. iGEM is the first opportunity in 20 years of my life to do something really huge and positive, so I have to use it.
The landmine problem is the most "indiscriminate problem"[[1] in the current modern world. Landmines do not distinguish between soldier, civilian, animal, or even a child. There are currently around 50 million landmines [2] left in the world unexploded. They have no way of telling when the war has finished and that they are no longer defending just killing innocent civilians.

What is even more devastating - antipersonnel landmines make thousands of people endure a whole lifetime of physical, psychological, and economic hardship. The people who survived after seeing the landmines' true face are the most amazing examples of human strength and hope. But wouldn't it better to see their strength in doing something creative rather than fighting everyday for their life?

Our team prepared small set of photos about the people who suffered from the landmines. We hope, that after you see those photos, you will not think how desperate those people are but how strong they are.

According to Landmine Monitor[3] landmine crisis has a huge impact on current humans communities. The main problem is, that it is really hard to detect landmines. Landmine detection is a very dangerous, time consuming and expensive activity. Estimates of the number of landmines currently deployed in different parts of the world vary widely however even the smallest of the estimates are huge. A minefield is not defined by the number of mines located inside a specific area. It is defined by the area which might contain a landmine. Can you imagine how dangerous it is to add extra square kilometer to the mine free zone if it is actually not?

Firstly, antipersonnel mines were used for military defence purpose, but right now in big number of countries their main task is to bring imbalance into the civilians' society, disrupt whole communities away from their homes, disrupt people's lives. People do this to create military state in war-torn societies. People are fighting for their belief, for power, for the right to be happy - and this is understandable - but how can they be happy if their happiness is built on unhappiness of a small child who suffered from the landmine they put in the soil in order to become happy?

It costs around $3 to produce a landmine and it costs between $300 and $1000 to locate and destroy a landmine. Or it costs a person's life...can we really put a price on that?

The international community is doing lots of things to help solve the landmine crisis. We hope that our project might also help somebody or push somebody else into using science to help the international community solve this problem. Because science is to make people happier and not just for killing them using top-end military achievements.

Based on Landmine Monitor Reports we built a small map, which can show you the list of countries which are landmines affected and to get a better understanding of how big the global landmines problem is.
Edinburgh University iGem Team 2009