Although we like playing video games with bombs on our Windows Phone, we have to remember in the real world, bombs and mines are a real problem for war-torn territories.
Evidently a few students at the Military University of Technology in Warsaw have decided to do something about it so they created SAPER. What is SAPER? The name means “minesweeper” in Polish and is also an acronym for “Sensor Amplified Perception For Explosives Recognition.” Yes, that's right, it uses the magnetometer in Windows Phone to detect bombs, specifically the magnetic field around an forty different types of explosive material from 30 cm (11.8 inches) away.
In short, you launch the app and let it calibrate in the area you intend to scan. Then waving the phone around it compares the recorded magnetic disturbance signature with other signatures in the database via a cloud-based connection, giving a probable threat cause and even a potential ID of the type of explosive. It even uses Bing Maps to then mark the area for future extraction.
Currently the app is exclusive to Windows Phone and is an Imagine Cup entry though the developers do have plans to extend it to other platforms and potentially extend it to other areas (detecting wires in a wall, body scans, etc.). And no, it's not intended to replace proper mine-sweeping technology but rather to supplant it where it can't be made readily available until a later time.
Certainly this is very impressive stuff and demonstrates just how powerful smartphones can be made--it's a tell tale sign of where things are going in the future. And for once an app on a smartphone will do good for the world instead of just waste time by shooting birds at pigs.
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Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central. He is also the head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007, when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and watches. He has been reviewing laptops since 2015 and is particularly fond of 2-in-1 convertibles, ARM processors, new form factors, and thin-and-light PCs. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.