Bomb Sniffing Dogs May Face Competition From Bugs?

In my few years writing on this blog one of the things I like reporting on the most is what crazy but practical military apparatus DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) and other creative defense companies will come up with next. I have introduced such blog topics as robotic swimming sharks, camouflage made out of squid proteins and even bullets that will go around corners. A recent story I read about a research team from Washington University outside St. Louis would indicate they may be about to go one up on DARPA and other exploratory military defense researchers. They are experimenting with what can best be described as “Bomb-Sniffing Cyborg Locusts.”

The research that is being done with the locusts is being underwritten by the Office of Naval Research and the project is being overseen by locust expert Professor Baranidharan Raman. Although this research may seem simple on the surface, it is actually pretty amazing what they are doing when you take a closer look at it.

Why did the researches at Washington University choose locusts of all things to work with? Apparently they have one of the keenest senses of smell on the planet according to Professor Raman. They are especially adept at sensing smells that are new to their environment too. When you combine their outstanding sense of smell with their somewhat simple brain structure it makes them ideal candidates for a bomb sniffing role. They are much easier and less expensive to train than dogs for sure and if the research works they may well prove to be much more reliable than machines when it comes to detecting bombs too.

LocustThe researchers at the university are also turning the locusts into part drones too. They can actually be piloted to an area where they are needed to search for bombs. Test locusts have been fitted with cybernetic materials that will steer them and also alert their handler to the presence of a bomb when they detect it. Their wings have been coated with a small amount of biocompatible silk; when a laser is aimed at them by an operator and hits this silk, it causes the locust to turn in a certain direction.

Who Might Find Use For These Bomb-Sniffing Cyborg Locusts?

In these days of terrorists threats that loom around every corner of the world, a cheap and reliable way to detect explosives has never been needed more – to say the least. There simply are not enough bomb sniffing dogs to keep us secure as we need to be and terrorist organizations repeatedly are finding ways to beat bomb detecting machines. Imagine what mayhem a team of men working a security checkpoint in Kandahar, Afghanistan could avert if they could simply fly a few locusts into a crowd and effectively screen them for explosives.

The uses for the military, police, homeland security and other law enforcement agencies around the world are virtually endless. Not to mention they can speed up ordinance detection efforts in bomb and mine riddled countries like Laos, Cambodia, South Korea and Vietnam.

These bugs that were once associated with biblical plagues may soon see a huge reversal in the way people look at them if Professor Raman and his research team are successful with their efforts.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.

Craig Smith

Craig has been writing for several years but just recently made freelance writing a full time profession after leaving behind 26 years working in the swimming pool construction industry. He served four years in the US Air Force as an Imagery Interpreter Specialist in Okinawa, Japan and at SAC Headquarters in Omaha, Nebraska. As a staunch supporter of law enforcement personnel, emergency medical technicians, firemen, search and rescue personnel and those who serve in the military, Craig is proud to contribute to the US Patriot blog on their behalf.
Craig Smith
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