Engineers are always looking for ways to pare down the size of technologies, and apparently that penchant for miniaturization extends to bomb-sniffing canines as well. Israeli researchers are trading in their dogs for mice trained in explosive detection, using teams of tiny rodents to keep dangerous materials out of airports.
Researchers say the mice are more sensitive than dogs when it comes to nosing out explosive chemicals, and that tapping that sensitivity is more effective than X-rays and pat downs.
But the mice won't be patrolling the airport on leashes like their canine counterparts. Rather, a team of mice will be housed in a casing about the sized of a full-body scanner, one side of which will contain three concealed cartridges, each containing eight mice. Working in four-hour shifts, the mice simply mill about, sniffing the air that is pumped in from outside.
The mice are trained to respond to the chemical traces of explosives in the air as a threat, prompting them to flee into a side chamber as if eluding a predator. Doing so triggers an alarm. More the one mouse must flee into the side chamber to sound the alarm, cutting down on false positives.
It may sound a bit strange, but these tiny security sentinels have a record that squeaks for itself. The device was tested last year in a Tel Aviv mall containing 1,000 shoppers, 22 of which were carrying mock explosives. The mice went 22 for 22.
Oh ! they're in a box and they pump the air in .
I had visions of mice running around the airport running up peoples luggage sniffing for bombs and drugs , and you'd have to be compliant , like the scene out of Minority Report where the police use the robot spiders to search a building for a the fugitive .
I can't wait for Popsci to incorporate these cool mice into the drawing on Friday
22 out of 22? Wow that's amazing. Definitely cheaper than canines for sure and less intrusive. Who wants a mutt sniffing your butt?
I can hear it now. "Please, sir, step right here while our box of mice sniffs you. For security reasons, of course." I hope no one tells PETA about this mouse/machine hybrid, lest they protest.
But the 100% success rate out of 1,000 subjects is amazing! I might get rid of my dog and replace him with a mouse, just to be safe... Oh, wait... I don't have a dog :P .
Oh, Ben! Here, Ben!
-IMP ;) :)
what if u smell like a cat
It doesn't sound very safe. The system could easily be messed with, even if it was a 100% success rate. Just give the mice some cheese :)
that's great and all but i think they should use the dogs and the mice in tandem, ice might be more effective cost wise but the dogs add a psychological factor. face it the last thing you want to do is piss off a big dog, more so if you have someplace you gotta be, maybe train the dogs to protect the mice?
@treehugger111 the problem with that is that mice prefer other stuff over cheese, peanut butter will actually get more of a reaction.
ghost has a point, you would be much more fearfull of a dog than a mouse