Researchers have ‘hijacked’ the swift sensation of locusts to search for explosives
According to a US Navy-funded study, Scientists have found a way of turning locust into explosive-smelling’ cyborgs‘. The idea is to “hijack” the incredible sense of smell of the insects, instead of coming up with an artificial method to detect explosives. According to a report in The Futurism, a research article uploaded this month on BioRxiv summarized how the team at Washington University in St. Louis installed electrodes into the brain of locusts and transformed them into ‘bio-robots’.
The article summarized that the team at Washington University conducted a careful examination of the brains of the susceptible insect to determine which different neurons stimulate during detecting different chemicals and smells.
During their research, they found that the locusts produce specific signals, differentiating between explosive vapors and other non- explosive chemicals.
The article claims that for the first time, a ‘cyborg sensing approach’ has been developed by hijacking the biological system used to smell.
To find out where, and where not to send the locust to find and smell the ammunition, the team placed the locust in small-wheeled robots, which took the locust to the desired location.
Researchers say that locusts have proven to be extremely efficient at smelling explosives because they only take a few milliseconds in the process.
The US Department of Naval Research allocated $ 7.5 million in 2016 for this research.