Everybody’s heard of bomb-sniffing dogs, but the US Navy is taking this idea to the next level. They’re in the process of developing cyborg locusts that are engineered to detect bombs.
The Office of Naval Research is awarding Washington University professors a three-year, $750,000 grant to develop bomb-sniffing locusts – a surprising alternative to current explosive detection animals, which include dogs and dolphins.
Why locusts? They have a remarkably sensitive olfactory system, thousands of times more complex than the best chemical detection devices available. So rather than attempt to engineer a similar system biomedical engineer Barani Raman decided to harness the original.
If only there was another creature that could’ve been used. Perhaps one that hasn’t been involved in a biblical plague. However, I’m pretty glad that they aren’t trying to create cybernetic dogs to do the task, as that would be a crime against nature. Hopefully the cyborg locusts aren’t as loud and annoying as their natural counterparts, as hearing the screeching of locusts in airport security checkpoints would be the only thing that could make airports much worse.
One of the reasons that locusts could be used is that they are very small and can enter into an area relatively undetected. If trained, they can fly into an area and search for specific scents, making them extremely useful. Once the researchers get the remote functionality going that is already being developed, they can send these bad boys in to dangerous or well-guarded places to have them sniff out explosives. Still, fuck locusts..
Image via YouTube