Why We Need Them
Despite the anthrax scare of 2001, there´s still no efficient mechanized way to comb a building for biohazards. Insects unwittingly absorb environmental impurities every day.
How They Work
In an emergency, workers could release roaches in a building, or collect bugs already there, and test them for toxins to determine the next step.
Darpa-funded Karen Kester, the principal player in this line of research, says a roach-based detection system could be ready within a few years.
Bugs are easy to trap and test for pathogens, but it´s difficult to control where they run once released.