Israeli scientists say they have found a way to harness the power of mice to bolster airport security.
Brothers Eran and Alon Lumbroso have constructed an explosive detector that looks like a standard airport metal detector or full-body scanner -- only it's filled with mice, according to New Scientist.
The mouse trap contains three canisters, each filled with eight specially trained mice capable of picking up faint traces of explosive residues. When passengers tainted with possible explosive chemicals walk through the arch, the mice reportedly flee to a secondary compartment, setting off an alarm.
"It's as if they're smelling a cat and escaping," said Eran, one of the co-founders of BioExplorers -- the company that manufactures the device. "We detect the escape."
In a demo at a Tel Aviv shopping mall last year, the mouse-powered bomb detector accurately identified 22 test subjects carrying fake explosives, according to The Daily Telegraph.
BioExplorers says mice are more effective bomb-sniffers than dogs because they don't require constant human interaction, and they actually have more scent receptor genes than canines.
Privacy advocates might find the device less invasive than full-body scanners, but it isn't without its potential downsides -- someone has to clean the cages.
Read more at New Scientist and The Daily Telegraph.
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