Thursday, February 3, 2011

Airport Security Using Drug Detection Mice

Jack Dikian
February 2011

Genetically-selected, specially-trained rodents can apparently detect drugs and explosives. Israeli scientists have created a device similar to a body scanner that uses mice to detect drugs or explosives.

It reminds me of the Hanna-Barbera production Flintstones where many of the stone-age devices contained small animals that performed various purpose. A prehistoric Mesozoic (bird) for example would use its peck to draw an image of the object the “camera” is aimed at.

In a similar way, mice in concealed cartridges within the scanner is said to be more efficient in the detection of drugs and explosives than that of x-ray machines or specially trained dogs.

When the mice sense traces of drugs they run to a side chamber where they trigger an alarm. BioExplorers systems are based on combining the hyper-sensitive olfactory capability of rodents with the care-free reliability of a hi-tech machine system, according to the company. According to BioExplorers it takes about ten days to teach the mice to sniff out their first banned substance, but they learn subsequent smells more quickly.

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