Tuesday, May 21, 2024
HomeAnswerSemi-Mechanical Grasshopper: Can Detect Explosives

Semi-Mechanical Grasshopper: Can Detect Explosives

Semi-Mechanical Grasshopper: Can Detect Explosives


This spring, locusts wreaked havoc in many parts of the world, making us once again feel the damage caused by locust plague on agriculture and economy, and also making locusts become the focus of people's attention.As for this pest, our first thought is how to get rid of it. The locusts' highly developed sense of smell, however, has intrigued researchers and could be used in explosives detection.But if you want to enhance the locust's function as a bomb-sniffing insect, there are some technical challenges that need to be addressed before it can be sent into the wild.


In a pre-proof paper published August 6th in the journal, researchers show they can "hijack" the locusts' olfactory system to detect and distinguish different explosive smells, all in a few hundred milliseconds. They will also be able to optimize a previously developed biorobot system that detects the locusts' firing neurons and sends messages telling researchers what the locusts perceive. Individual locusts can detect and locate odors emanating from complex environments, and swarms can do better. The team experimented and modeled and concluded that "the perception of multiple organisms would be more effective in detecting the target chemical." We don't know if they can smell or pinpoint the explosives because they don't have any ecological significance. Maybe in this particular case, they don't care about any clues that are meaningful to us."


Now they know that locusts can detect and distinguish between different explosives, but in order to find a bomb, locusts must know which direction the smell is coming from. Steam from explosives is pumped in through a hole in the box, and the locust sits in a mini car. The researchers studied the locust's odor-related brain activity as it was carried around in cars and smelled different concentrations of steam. Signals in the locusts' brains reflect differences in vapor concentrations. The next step is to optimize the system to transmit the locusts' brain activity. The research team, which includes Professor Shantanu Chakrabartty from the Department of Electrical and Systems Engineering and Professor Srikanth Singamaneni from the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science, are pooling their extensive expertise to study the tiny locusts. "We can now implant electrodes, seal off locusts and transport them to a mobile environment," says Raman. One day, this could be the explosive environment the Department of Homeland Security is looking for. The idea is not as strange as it first sounds. "It's not that different from when coal miners used canaries in the past," he said. People use pigs to find truffles. It's the same method (but a little more complicated)."

- Advertisment -

Most Popular

Recent Comments