Airport Security: New Bomb-Sniffing Mice
One day, you may not have to worry about radiation from full-body airport scanners, according to New Scientist magazine. That’s because BioExplorers, an Israeli company, claims that trained mice can sniff out explosives carried by would-be terrorists. The company has built a device that resembles an airport metal detector or full-body scanner with three concealed cartridges hidden in the archway, each containing eight mice. As air passes over people paused in the archway, the mice can sniff out traces of any of eight explosives. When one is detected, the mice flee to a side chamber, triggering an alarm. Each mouse would work two four-hour shifts a day, New Scientist reports, and would have a working life of 18 months. Mice, incidentally, have 1,120 olfactory receptor genes, versus 756 in dogs. While useful for explosives, the rodents would not replace current baggage scanners and metal detectors—and someone would have to clean those mouse cages.