Mice are being trained to detect would-be bombers and drug couriers at airports.
Israeli scientists have created a detector, similar looking to a full-body scanner but with three concealed cartridges each containing eight specially trained mice.
According to the New Scientist magazine, 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 they trigger an alarm.
Eran Lumbroso, and inventor whose company BioExplorers is hopeful a larger company will help with the final stages of development, said: “It is as if they are smelling a cat and escaping. We detect the escape.”
The device was tested last year on 1,000 shoppers in a Tel Aviv shopping mall when the mice successfully picked out 22 people carrying mock explosives.
The idea may be appealing to airport authorities who feel that body scanners invade customer’s privacy.