Cybersaranch sapper is ready to start searching for real explosives

If we constantly draw inspiration from Mother Nature when developing new technologies, why don't we take a logical step forward and just borrow ready-made solutions from her? For example, a person has long been using a unique canine scent, but there is a creature that is significantly superior to dogs in this. We are talking about locusts, more precisely, about its cybernetically improved version, created at the University of Washington in St. Louis (USA).

The ability of locusts to react to vapors of various substances is difficult to overestimate - the reaction speed in experiments does not exceed 0.5 seconds. To learn new smells, it turned out that only a few sessions according to the Pavlov method were enough, which made it possible to teach insects to react to smells of a wide range of explosives such as TNT, DNT, RDX, PETN and ammonium nitrate literally in a day. The response to these substances manifests itself in the form of powerful brain activity.

To turn the locust into an explosive detector, scientists implanted electrodes in its brain to read neuron signals directly. During the experiment, the insect itself was placed in a transparent capsule with access to the surrounding atmosphere, which was installed on a robotic cart. The cart moves around the surveyed area, the operator monitors the sensors - if the locust reacts to the smell of explosives, it will be possible to study in more detail the place of its detection.

The researchers claim that their trained cybersaranch is completely ready for field testing using real explosives. And after that, it can be taken into service in the sapper troops and even in airport terminals.