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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Bomb-Sniffing Mice Are New Weapon Against Terror


Amazing bomb sniffing mice unveiled at Security Expo. These mice are capable of sniffing out a variety of explosive materials, narcotics and more. They may soon debut at airports across the globe.

When it comes to safety in the skies and the prevention of terrorist attacks, one company believes our best line of defense is a crack team of specially-trained rodents.

Yes, bomb-sniffing mice could well be the best way of tackling would-be plane bombers, according to security experts.

Forget sniffer dogs, pat-downs and X-Ray machines, these miniature creatures are said to be cheaper and much more accurate, according to New Scientist magazine.

Israeli researchers have designed a body-scanner style machine, but instead of taking an image of passengers, it conceals three teams of eight mice behind secret panels.

Air is passed over the passengers then pumped into the panels and if explosives are detected the mice run into another chamber, raising the alarm.

Rodents have a more acute sense of smell than dogs and don't rely on the same amount of treats and encouragement needed by their canine colleagues, making them less work for trainers.

In return for working two four-hour shifts a day, the rodents have comfortable cages and access to as much food and water as they want. And they can retire after 18 months.

The company behind the invention believes the mouse-powered machine could be the ultimate low-tech, low-cost answer to airport security.

And it would certainly solve the controversy surrounding full-body scanners which transmit 'naked' images to a member of the airport security team.

'Animals' noses are always a good solution, and the mice don't see you naked,' security expert Bruce Schneier told the New Scientist.

The first field test was run in a Tel Aviv shopping centre in December 2011 and the rodents picked out each of the 22 test 'bombers' who were carrying explosives.

The Israeli company hopes to find financial backing to expand the project, meaning a crack team of mice could soon be coming to an airport near you.


Bloomberg's Elliott Gotkine reports from Israel which is currently hosting a Homeland Security Conference. He speaks to Boaz Hayoun, chief executive officer of Tamar Explosives, who has developed an alternative to sniffer dogs.

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