Next Security Indignity? Trained "Sniffer Mice"
2012-11-16 0:00

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

Breaking: Google gives new meaning to “Orwellian”
2015-03-02 18:14
Becomes Ministry of Truth “…if all records told the same tale — then the lie passed into history and became truth.” (1984, George Orwell) The New Scientist has the stunning story (2/28/15, “Google wants to rank websites based on facts not links,” by Hal Hodson): “THE internet is stuffed with garbage. Anti-vaccination websites make the front page of Google, and fact-free ‘news’ stories ...
Boris Nemtsov, Putin Foe, Is Shot Dead in Shadow of Kremlin - A Staged Shooting?
2015-02-28 22:37
NY Times: Boris Nemtsov, Putin Foe, Is Shot Dead in Shadow of Kremlin Mr. Nemtsov, a former first deputy prime minister of Russia, was killed in central Moscow in the highest-profile assassination in Russia during the tenure of President Vladimir V. Putin. A Staged Shooting? ... Why does the dead body of fitness enthusiast Boris Nemtsov have a pot belly? The Anti-New York Times doesn't ...
Holocaust, Hate Speech and Were the Germans so Stupid?
2015-02-28 20:31
Description form YouTube: This is an updated version of the video which was taken down by YouTube following a spurious copyright-infringement claim. It addresses issues regarding claims that Zyklon B in liquid form gives off fumes at temperatures below 0º C. As the world approaches the brink of a new Middle East crisis this time involving Syria, clearly at the behind-the-scenes ...
The Jewish Roots of Leonard Nimoy and What the ‘Live Long and Prosper’ Hand Symbol Really Means
2015-02-28 0:20
Leonard Nimoy first saw what became the famous Vulcan salute, “live long and prosper,” as a child, long before “Star Trek” even existed. The placement of the hands comes from a childhood memory, of an Orthodox Jewish synagogue service in Boston. The man who would play Spock saw the gesture as part of a blessing, and it never left him. “Something ...
Baby born still INSIDE his amniotic sac is hailed a ‘medical miracle’ by doctors [Video]
2015-02-27 22:46
What an incredible miracle… Not only was the little boy three months early – he was born inside his amniotic sac. I’ve never heard of this happening before. If you look at the picture, you can see him clearly with his little arms and legs curled up. He was still being given oxygen by his mom until the sac was ...
More News »