Next Security Indignity? Trained "Sniffer Mice"
2012 11 16

From: Telegraph.co.uk

An Israeli company is aiming to revolutionise the way explosives, narcotics and even money are detected at airports, docks and border crossings with the help of specially trained mice.

The system, developed by the Herzliya-based BioExplorers, is simple: a traveller stands inside a small booth and is hit by a gentle blast of air that is then sucked into an small opaque chamber, where a group of eight mice are on duty.

After eight seconds, assuming the subject is all clear, a green light appears and the barrier opens.

But if the air smells of a suspicious material the mice have been trained to detect, they gather in the so-called reporting compartment, which raises an alarm.

"The idea began in 2000-2001, when there were many suicide bombings on (Israeli) buses," said BioExplorers founder and chief technology officer Eran Lumbroso at the Israel Homeland Security exhibition in Tel Aviv, where he displayed his mechanism for the first time.

"I was in the army at the time, and the idea emerged to use small animals instead of dogs in detecting suicide bombers."

After leaving the army in 2004, Lumbroso continued work on the project, running tests with different types of animals, portals and training methods.

Mice were eventually chosen because of their keen noses and diminutive size.

"They can be trained to sniff out drugs, money, even remainders of pesticides on agricultural produce," explains Lumbroso, who is a biologist.

"They have a very developed sense of smell, more than that of dogs," he said, pointing out that sniffer dogs can also be intrusive and sometimes intimidating to their subjects.

"The mice can also be easily trained, and thanks to their small size, you can use a small group of them and have multiple sensors," says Lumbroso.

The booths contain three sections, or cartridges, roughly the size of a small microwave oven, stacked one on top of the other, which are each home to eight mice.

Each group of rodents works a four-hour shift, before the flow of air is automatically diverted to the next cartridge in line.

The cartridges contain food and water which are renewed every 14 days when they are removed for cleaning and servicing.

BioExplorers says the mice enjoy much better conditions than those of standard lab mice. They are trained over two months, with each mouse able to work for an 18-month period.

In December 2010, a BioExplorers booth was placed at the entrance to a Tel Aviv shopping centre and more than a thousand people passed through it, among them 20 test subjects carrying suspect material.

"Over 1,200 people passed through. There was one false alarm, and all of the initiated targets were detected," Lumbroso said.

While mice would not be efficient in detecting metals, which do not have a powerful odour, they can be trained to react to different kinds of narcotics, and dozens of kinds of explosives emanating from roughly 15 different "families" of materials, said Lumbroso.

They can even detect the particular smell of money.

[...]

Read the full article at: telegraph.co.uk





Related Articles
National Anti-TSA Campaign: Opt Out And Film Week (Nov. 19 - 26)
Security Theater: TSA Confiscates Woman’s Frosted Cupcake
Poll: Nearly One Third Of Americans Would Accept ‘TSA Body Cavity Search’ in Order to Fly
TSA Lets Loaded Guns Past Security, on to Planes


Latest News from our Front Page

Chess-playing computers may cause the robot apocalypse
2014 04 23
Sore-loser chess programs might be the end of us all... In the movie The Terminator, we heard the human side of the story of Judgment Day, with the machines getting smart and seeing us as a threat. It wasn’t until the sequel that we heard the tale from the machine’s point of view, as it chose to start World War III ...
Archeologists’ findings may prove Rome a century older than thought
2014 04 23
It is already known as the eternal city, and if new archeological findings prove correct Rome may turn out to be even more so than believed until now. Next week, the city will celebrate its official, 2,767th birthday. According to a tradition going back to classic times, the brothers Romulus and Remus founded the city on 21 April in the year ...
Swedish MP ordered chemtrail probe
2014 04 23
A Swedish MP who launched an official government investigation into the existence of chemtrails tells The Local why he thinks Swedes deserve the truth, even if it may leave some conspiracy theorists unsatisfied. "I can’t speak for other MPs, but I’ve had many, many calls over the past eight years about chemtrails. And these questions are not so easy to answer," ...
Mystery of Bizarre Duck-Like Ocean Sound
2014 04 23
If it quacks like a duck... it’s not always a duck. Scientists have reportedly gotten to the bottom of the mysterious ’Bio-Duck’ sound in the Antarctic. Here’s a recording of the strange sound (it’s kind of a stretch to say it sounds like a duck, but who are we to second guess the biologists?). --- Mystery of Bizarre Duck-Like Ocean Sound Solved By Tanya Lewis ...
’Extreme’ Carbon Dioxide Reduction will be a Death Sentence for Humanity & Planet Earth
2014 04 23
If we allow a fraudulent pseudo-environmentalist cult to control every aspect of our lives then our children are doomed to a totalitarian existence which Stalin could only have dreamed of. “The common enemy of humanity is man. In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine ...
More News »