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article imageAirport security and drug detection mice being trained

By William Charles Baker     Feb 3, 2011 in World
Israeli scientists have created a device similar to a full body scanner that with the assistance of specially trained mice is said to be able to detect drugs or explosives.
Using eight mice in each of three concealed cartridges within the scanner the efficiency of detection is said to be greater that x-ray machines or specially trained dogs.
The Telegraph reports: “According to the New Scientist the mice work four-hour shifts and are more accurate than using dogs and x-ray machines, the researchers claim. Air is pumped into the cartridges every four hours so the mice can breathe. When the mice sense traces of drugs they run to a side chamber where the trigger an alarm, the magazine said.”
The scanner was tested in a Tel Aviv shopping mall where 22 persons carrying mock explosives were selected out of 1,000 passing through the scanner.
The Israeli company BioExplorers says their machines are more effective because of the use of rodents.
Tgdaily reports: “The genetically-selected, specially-trained rodents can apparently detect drugs and explosives within three to six seconds. They sit in a chamber attached to the body scanner, snuffling away; and when they detect an illicit substance they run into another compartment, triggering an alarm. "BioExplorers systems are based on combining the hyper-sensitive olfactory capability of rodents with the care-free reliability of a hi-tech machine system," the company claims.”
BioExplorers is hopeful to get additional help from other companies that see the scanner as an alternative to current airport systems that cause customer privacy invasion concerns.
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