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Cyborg Grasshoppers Engineered to Sniff Out Explosives


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A cyborg grasshopper.

Researchers at Washington University adapted American grasshoppers into bomb-sniffing tools by implanting electrodes in the insects' antenna lobes.

Credit: Baranidharan Raman/Washington University in St. Louis

Washington University researchers have converted American grasshoppers into bomb-sniffing tools by implanting electrodes in the insects' antenna lobes to tap into the capabilities of their olfactory receptor neurons.

The researchers equipped the grasshoppers with lightweight sensor backpacks to record and transmit detected electrical activity to a computer.

Analysis of the antennae's electrical signals showed a differentiation between explosive and non-explosive vapors, as well as between different explosive materials.

Further tests showed the cyborg insects could sense the highest concentration of explosives in different locations, and combining sensory data from seven grasshoppers returned an average 80% detection accuracy, versus 60% for one grasshopper.

From New Scientist
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Abstracts Copyright © 2020 SmithBucklin, Washington, DC, USA


 

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