Airport security is a big concern in our age of increasing terrorism, and experts are always looking for ways to make screenings faster and more efficient. If X-Test, an Israeli security firm, has its way, you just might see some new little security workers the next time you’re about to catch a flight.
The firm’s vice-president, Yuval Amsterdam, is a former bomb-disposal expert for the Israel Defense Forces. He is now developing what he says is the most sophisticated explosive detection system ever conceived – with mice at its heart. “They’re as good as dogs as far as their ability to sense, but they’re smaller and easier to train,” Mr Amsterdam said. “They’re cheap, and you don’t have to take them for a walk. Once they are trained, they become bio-sensors.”
The mice will not run loose over passengers and their bags, but will be contained inside cages at security checkpoints. They will discreetly sniff people and possessions for the substances they have been trained to identify, and signal when they detect a threat. Because mice can be trained in large numbers by machine, they can produce much more reliable results, said Mr Amsterdam.