Wednesday, November 02, 2005

drug-sniffing wasps may sting crooks

"Sneaky drug smugglers and terrorists may soon meet their match: a handheld chemical detector powered by trained wasps." this is the headline of a recent article in national geographic. it is an interesting article about the "wasp hound" that lewis and rains, georgia based researchers how to bring to the market in five to ten years.

"The Wasp Hound is a tube made of PVC pipe. At one end is a clear lastic chamber, about two inches (five centimeters) in diameter and an inch (two and a half centimeters) deep, where the wwasps are housed. It's like a cap that you can take on and off... the chamber has vent holes, a fan, and a miniature camera connected to a computer. When the wasps aren't working, they just randomly walk around in their chamger, but when the wasps encounter a smell they have been trained to recognize, the hungry insects congregate near the odor, hoping for food. the mini-cam tracks their movement, sending pictures to the computer, which analyzes the images and triggers an alarm withoin 30 seconds."

they say that wasps can be trained in 30 minutes and bred by the thousands - but who has the heart to let nix the k9 know that he may be out of a job?


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