BY BOB HOLT
For those air travelers who are unhappy with the Transportation Security Administration, how do you feel about bomb-sniffing mice?
In Israel, they mean business. A team of mice are being specially trained as covert agents.
According to AFP, the traveller stands inside a small booth and receives a gentle blast of air that is then sucked into a small chamber, containing eight mice. But the mice have been trained to smell a particular material in the air blast, and they run into another compartment if that odor is evident and sound an alarm.
The mice booths contain three sections about the size of a small microwave oven, stacked one on top of the other.
The idea was developed by a group known as BioExplorers in 2000-2001, founder Eran Lumbroso said, when there were a number of suicide bombings on Israeli buses, according to asiaone.com. A field test was run in Tel Aviv in December 2010, and the mice identified all 22 test "bombers" who carried explosives.
Another advantage of using the mice for security reasons is that they have a more acute sense of smell than dogs, and they are less work for trainers. The rodents work two four-hour shifts each day, and can retire after 18 months. They would also save some of the problems caused by full-body scanners.
"The mice don't see you naked,” security expert Bruce Schneier said, according to Mail Online.