Israeli Company Trains Mice To Sniff Out Bombs

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File photo of mice. (Photo By Getty Images)

File photo of mice. (Photo By Getty Images)

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TEL AVIV (CBSDC/AP) – In an effort to ferret out those trying to carry and conceal hidden bombs, drugs or other suspect materials, one Israeli company claims they have trained mice to sniff out any potential threats.

BioExplorers have developed a system where a person is hit by a small blast of air that is immediately pushed into a chamber where eight mice are waiting. The mice then smell the air for potentially hazardous or incendiary materials. They can even detect money.

If the person is a threat, the mice reportedly know to gather in a separate compartment as a means of alerting humans, AFP News learned.

“The idea began in 2000-2001, when there were many suicide bombings on [Israeli] buses,” BioExplorers founder and chief technology officer Eran Lumbroso was quoted as saying at the Israel Homeland Security exhibition in Tel Aviv.

He further explained, “”I was in the army at the time, and the idea emerged to use small animals instead of dogs in detecting suicide bombers.”

Animals are often used in finding bombs throughout the United States, according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

“The ATF explosives detection canine, a graduate of ATF’s 10 week explosive detection training program, has been conditioned to detect explosives, explosives residue, and postblast evidence,” the official website states. “As a bonus, because of their conditioning to smokeless powder and other explosive fillers, ATF trained explosives detection canines can detect firearms and ammunition hidden in containers and vehicles, on persons and buried underground.”

AFP News learned that mice allegedly have even better senses of smell than dogs, however.

“The mice can also be easily trained, and thanks to their small size, you can use a small group of them and have multiple sensors,” added Lumbroso.

The animals reportedly work for four hours, before the next eight-mouse shift takes over. BioExplorer researchers also told the news service that they are careful to give the mice better treatment than that given to ordinary lab rodents.

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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