What is the best bomb detector device-a machine, a dog, or a bee?
The 911 tragic prompted a series of public initiatives into funding research for a technology to guarantee the safety of citizens from the escalation of terrorism activities abroad and within the homeland. While the indirect method of explosives detection such as X-rays is relatively mature, the most direct route to detect the explosives through detection of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), molecules of explosives vapour is still under developed. Considerable effort had been spent to miniaturize the Mass spectrometer but it remains too bulky, expensive and slow to operate. Other technologies such as Ion Mobility Spectrometry or the bio-inspired technologies such as MOSFET, surface acoustic waves (SAW) have received equal prominent attention claiming to be the ultimate sensor.
However, after spending over billions of dollars on the research and years working with all kinds of gadgets “Dogs are the best detectors,” claimed Lieutenant General Michael Oates the commander of the JIEDDO. It is not surprising that these technologies that were developed in the last decade are not as good as the design through billions of years. Nature has given animals the best tool – olfactory sense – to survive the harshest environment. Today, we see the use of dogs in the airports, ports and other critical infrastructure safe guarding the people from the terrorist threat. However, have you ever wondered if there are other animals that can also be used?
There are countless of examples where animals were used by human. The use of pigs to search for truffles dated back to Roman empire. In Africa, APOPO uses African pouched rats to detect landmines and tuberculosis with success. In water, Navy trained dolphin to help trace the sea-mines. And now, at Inscentinel, we believe that sniffer bee with its superior sensitivity, fast training and easy to maintain makes it the most wonderful animal to work with. Through our bee sensor system, we can train thousands of bees automatically to any kind of odour and deploy them in a electronics assist detector. This results in a very simple to use detector with the most powerful sensor in it than any electronic sensor on earth.