Friday, February 4, 2011

Mice trained to sniff out terrorists at airports

Mice trained for airport security... researchers say mice are better at picking up traces of explosives or drugs

Inventor Eran Lumbroso, whose company BioExplorers is looking for a larger firm to help with the final stages of development, said: ‘It is as if they are smelling a cat and escaping. We detect the escape.’

To set the pattern of shifts, air is pumped to a different cartridge every four hours.

This gives the rodents eight hours to sleep and play before they are required to ‘clock on’ again.

The mice take around ten days to learn their first smell. Subsequent odours take just a few days each.

Unlike sniffer dogs, mice do not require constant interaction with their trainers or to be plied with treats to keep them motivated.

The concept may appeal to those who fear that the full-body scanners introduced at many airports are exposing them to harmful radiation and invading privacy.

Security expert Bruce Schneier told New Scientist: ‘Animals’ noses are always a good solution, and the mice don’t see you naked.’

The device was field tested last year on 1,000 shoppers in a Tel Aviv mall when the mice successfully picked out the 22 people with mock explosives in their pockets.

The scanners – which are likely to be cheaper than equipment already in use – could be on the market within months.

It is unclear, however, how the mice would react if a cat was loose in the airport. ...

via Mice trained to sniff out terrorists at airports: The real Danger Mouse | Mail Online.

No comments: