Friday, 11 February 2011

Mice trained to detect bombs and drugs

And in another interesting technological development, the New Scientist reports that Israeli scientists have developed a way to train mice to detect would-be bombers and drug carriers in airports. They have created a detector, similar looking to a full-body scanner but with three concealed cartridges each containing eight specially trained mice. The mice work 4-hour shifts during which the mice mill about in a common area in each cartridge as air is passed over people paused in the archway and through the cartridge. When the mice sniff traces of any of eight key explosives in the air, they are conditioned to avoid the scent and flee to a side chamber, triggering an alarm. To avoid false positives, more than one mouse must enter the room at the same time. 

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