Two engineers graduated from ENSIL, the Limoges engineering school, are about to launch the very first metal detector robot for the general public. Her name ? The Basset Jones. A nod to the hunting dog and the movie hero Indiana Jones! Logic for a robot intended for treasure seekers. An idea born from a meeting in the summer of 2019: “while walking on a beach, I saw a walker looking for something with a metal detector. He was looking for the alliance of one of his friends. By exchanging a little bit, he told me that it would be good to automate all this to make the search more efficient.“explains the Corrézien Jean-Sébastien Poignet, co-designer of the Basset Jones with the Ardéchois Joris Rochelle.
A robot to program with your mobile phone
With his training as an engineer, he imagines an association of new technologies to make this wish come true: “whether it is autonomous vehicles, artificial intelligence or social networks. “With the key, a small all-terrain vehicle on four wheels able to cross obstacles and especially to detect the different metals present in the ground. All you have to do is define the area to be surveyed on your phone using an application. The machine gives an estimate of what is buried. Detectorists then intervene to dig. Detectorists are those enthusiasts who use metal detectors to ideally find historical and / or valuable objects as in the series The Detectorists on Arte.
We do not break the pleasure of discovery
But their great pleasure is precisely to search with their detector on their arm. How can you be sure that they will be seduced by a robot that will prospect for them? “We claim disruption. We want to put technology at the service of detectorists. Having discussed with a lot of them, research is part of the pleasure, but finding is the pleasure multiplied by 10. Not only are we more efficient but we do not break the pleasure of discovery.” valued Jean-Sébastien Poignet who is also thinking about a version for professionals : “for the mapping of underground networks. We also have an application in post-conflict zones where almost every day, children of women and men are mutilated by anti-personnel mines. We are committed to being able to detect these mines and put these populations out of danger.“.
They chose Limoges because there is everything they need
But why did you choose Limoges to create their company and manufacture the Basset Jones? Nothing to do with a choice of the heart explains Jean-Sébastien Poignet: “it is a Cartesian choice. The technology we take on board is located in Limoges. The mechatronics sector offers extremely interesting and competitive technologies. The easiest choice for a startuper is to go to Sophia Antipolis or Montpellier. We had possibilities but we had everything in Limoges. This is where we had to go. We are not from Limoges but you have to get as close as possible to technology and it was near Ester Technopole“argues the engineer who with his partner hopes to contribute to the development of the detector movement in France with a robot for the general public at less than a thousand euros.
(Marketing planned from June after several months of testing from March to May by five “ambassadors” in France)