US/World News

Forget X-ray body scanners–try mice

The mice rarely make an error

TEL AVIV – Israeli startup Bioexplorers has developed a new and unique way to sniff out terrorists – literally. After years of research, Bioexplorers has hit upon a foolproof, non-invasive and easy method to detect contraband in purses, luggage and even cargo – mice.
“Mice have an excellent sense of smell, and they’re relatively easy to train. And they’re easier to use for odor detection than other animals traditionally used for their olfactory capabilities,” says company CEO Eran Lumbroso
Dogs are most often used by security forces to detect drugs and explosives, says Lumbroso, but they generally respond to the directions of their trainer, making their work more of an art than a science. Mice get it right every time.
Here’s how it works: A person passes through a passageway in which a Bioexplorers system is installed. A fan passes air into a sensor receptor, and delivers it into a chamber with several mice. The mice, having gone through intensive behavioral training, sniff the air. If the odor is one associated with items the mice have been trained to recognize, like drugs or bombs, they move into another chamber – setting off an alarm. Security officers can then move in and stop the appropriate suspect.
“The mice rarely make an error, and the entire procedure is far less invasive or intimidating than the alternatives, like using dogs or x-ray machines,” says Lumbroso.  Plus, he adds, “There’s no radiation, and no concern about being seen naked.”

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