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Israeli Company Trains Security Mice

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the same-thing-we-do-every-night dept.

Security 96

Israeli scientists have created an explosive detector using specially trained mice. Researchers claim the mice are more accurate than dogs or x-ray machines and best of all, they work for peanuts. From the article: "The device was tested last year on 1,000 shoppers in a Tel Aviv shopping mall when the mice successfully picked out 22 people carrying mock explosives."

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96 comments

Volunteers? (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 3 years ago | (#35090746)

I wonder if we could get Mickey to volunteer for this mission? I bet Itchy is one of their top trainers ;-)

Re:Volunteers? (5, Funny)

An ominous Cow art (320322) | more than 3 years ago | (#35090794)

Will these mice be members of Moussad?

Re:Volunteers? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35091210)

Anti semitic troll detected. The jewish lobby will soon contact you through your local law enfocrment authority.

Re:Volunteers? (1)

jiteo (964572) | more than 3 years ago | (#35093280)

Replying to undo bad mod.

Re:Volunteers? (1)

Squeeonline (1323439) | more than 3 years ago | (#35091534)

oh for mod points. +1 funnies to you sir.

Re:Volunteers? (1)

dintech (998802) | more than 3 years ago | (#35090956)

I think this is more like a Pinky and The Brain kind of experiment.

Jew Rats (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35091362)

This brings a whole new meaning to the phrase "Those Jew rats are trying to steal my land again!"

By the way Walt Disney was anti-semitic and Mickey Mouse hates Jews more than Itchey hates Scratchey.

Re:Jew Rats (1)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 3 years ago | (#35092094)

Disney today is another Zionist mind-control tool.

Re:Jew Rats (1)

Kilrah_il (1692978) | more than 3 years ago | (#35100220)

As all the corporation of the worlds. We got you under our control. *evil laughter*

Re:Volunteers? (1)

Meski (774546) | more than 3 years ago | (#35100540)

Elephants complain about profiling...

Did not read (1)

zoomshorts (137587) | more than 3 years ago | (#35090766)

Now they need similar cats for when the mice get out of hand.

I cannot reach the article, how do the mice 'alert' to explosives?
Push the bar on the panel to receive food, thus setting off an alarm?

Re:Did not read (2)

the_one_wesp (1785252) | more than 3 years ago | (#35090866)

Yea, that's the basic gist.

When the mice sense traces of drugs they run to a side chamber where the trigger an alarm, the magazine said.

Except, I don't think they get food as that would very likely introduce a conflict of interests ;)

Re:Did not read (3, Informative)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#35091178)

This is similar to work that's been done with rodents being used to detect landmines. The animals themselves are light enough that they can stand on the mines without detonating them, and use their sense of smell to locate and alert the handler as to the location of the ordinance. Move over sniffer dogs, here come Africa’s rats [dailytimes.com.pk]

Re:Did not read (1)

JonStewartMill (1463117) | more than 3 years ago | (#35091768)

Language nit: the word you want is ordnance. [merriam-webster.com]

Re:Did not read (1)

Methuseus (468642) | more than 3 years ago | (#35091968)

Wow, I thought it was spelled the way the other poster spelled it. Thanks for the info, and yes, this is a completely offtopic post.

Wait: (2)

Even on Slashdot FOE (1870208) | more than 3 years ago | (#35090838)

Don't mice cause terror in a(n exaggeratedly) large segment of the population? I wonder how long it will take for the screams and panic to start once the mice run up to them.

Of course, this implies that mice are weapons of terror.

Re:Wait: (1)

Riceballsan (816702) | more than 3 years ago | (#35091168)

A very large portion of people are afraid of mice, however if I was presented with the choice between TSA Grope + Backscatter, and a mouse fleet I would take the mouse fleet, of course TSA most likely wouldn't do them as an alternative, but as an extra scan.

Re:Wait: (1)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 3 years ago | (#35091468)

What about the emotional issues that the mice will have when people scream at them. Will they be able to obtain the proper counseling to overcome their emotional trauma? Will the government pick up the bills, or will they have to pay for it themselves? Will the psychologists accept peanuts?

Re:Wait: (1)

cpghost (719344) | more than 3 years ago | (#35093100)

Will the psychologists accept peanuts?

Mice psychologists will settle for a little bit of cheese...

Nah, I've always thought of TSA agents as (2)

crovira (10242) | more than 3 years ago | (#35100888)

animals anyway.

I doubt the public would be any more alarmed at the thought of having a cute small trained rat go through their clothes and luggage or some ugly full-sized trained troglodyte pawing at them.

You put a little blue and gold uniform on 'em, add a little cap, and you'll have people lining up(, and enjoying it.)

Its called Disneyfication.

Not bad (3)

Klync (152475) | more than 3 years ago | (#35090964)

Explosion detection is pretty cool, and useful I'm sure. But I was hoping for special ops commandos.

Re:Not bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35091378)

Explosion detection is easy. Explosive detection is kind of cool though, I guess.

Re:Not bad (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#35091662)

Explosion detection is really easy. humans have been trained in explosion detection for decades now. Back in the 40's and 50's thousands of army men were trained out in new mexico in nuclear explosion detection. They want you to think we were testing bombs, no. These were secret tests to train men on how to detect nuclear explosions.

Re:Not bad (1)

antdude (79039) | more than 3 years ago | (#35091982)

Special Ops. Commando Mice? Um...

Re:Not bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35095782)

The next Call of Duty game?

Re:Not bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35093876)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bat_bomb

They're already halfway there. They just need to give them ricin pea shooters or polonium-210 coated dentures.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georgi_Markov#Murder
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poisoning_of_Alexander_Litvinenko

This will only encourage (3, Informative)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 3 years ago | (#35090994)

This will only encourage those who blame Mossad for shark attacks [bbc.co.uk] and who detained a vulture for working for Mossad [bbc.co.uk] . perhaps they will be detaining mice now.

Re:This will only encourage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35104424)

Mouse-sad?

Re:This will only encourage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35110120)

Dear lord! If this wasn't from the bbc I'd swear it was an onion story! Scary how life imitates art, imitates life..

Obviously, someone fails "vowel recognition" (1)

denzacar (181829) | more than 3 years ago | (#35134598)

This will only encourage those who blame Mossad for shark attacks [bbc.co.uk]

Confusing "Jaws" with Jews and all...

Won't replace dogs (1)

rogueippacket (1977626) | more than 3 years ago | (#35091014)

All dogs have similar sense of smell. If this were about the high cost of dogs, they would have been using Chihuahuas years ago.
To that end, they use large breed dogs for a reason - they're intimidating and can actually neutralize someone carrying a bomb. So unless these mice have really sharp teeth... =)

Re:Won't replace dogs (1)

LiquidLink57 (1864484) | more than 3 years ago | (#35091080)

Follow. But! Follow only if ye be men of valor, for the entrance to this airport is guarded by a creature so foul, so cruel, that no man yet has fought with it and lived. Bones of full fifty men lie strewn about its lair! So, brave knights, if you do doubt your courage or your strength, come no further, for death awaits you all with nasty, big, pointy teeth!

Re:Won't replace dogs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35091208)

I soiled my armour I was so scared!

Re:Won't replace dogs (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#35091282)

What are you talking about? They won't replace dogs in that capacity, but there's plenty of areas like investigating IEDs or looking for mines or crawling in places that a dog can't fit where these are going to be quite useful. I don't personally see why the obsession with replacing things is so prevalent, why can't it just be a complementary option?

Re:Won't replace dogs (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 3 years ago | (#35091374)

All dogs have similar sense of smell.

As I understand it, bloodhounds and similar dogs have a far better sense of smell than the usual dog.

Re:Won't replace dogs (1)

ocdscouter (1922930) | more than 3 years ago | (#35091732)

All dogs have similar sense of smell.

As I understand it, bloodhounds and similar dogs have a far better sense of smell than the usual dog.

Beagles too. Apparently, they're used for detecting food and the like by customs officials (and can distinguish between restricted and non-restricted smells).

Just for fun: Beagle Brigade [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Won't replace dogs (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#35146792)

Beagles have the additional advantage of being small(food isn't free), relatively docile(even hardened cheese-smugglers tend not to resort to violence right in the terminal), and adorable(when a good percentage of the "restricted" hits are dumbasses who don't bother to read, or their innocent but idiotic children, something that isn't a baying German Shepard is better public relations)...

Somewhat less fortunately for the beagles, small, docile dogs are also pretty good for animal research.

Re:Won't replace dogs (1)

dragonhunter21 (1815102) | more than 3 years ago | (#35091520)

I think the idea is more identification than neutralization. Although how a rat is supposed to tag someone effectively is beyond me.

Oh, and fun fact- daschunds are one of the best breeds for bomb sniffing. They're close to the ground, so they pick up the scent where it is most potent- at the ground. Although, the back problems inherent in daschies might limit their cost-effectiveness.

Re:Won't replace dogs (1)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 3 years ago | (#35091836)

My bag was totally sniffed by a drug enforcement puppy when I flew home from Cleveland.

I went to pet this cute puppy running around and the handler was the threat.

This was at the baggage claim, so i assume it was drugs and not security.

Re:Won't replace dogs (1)

Mister Whirly (964219) | more than 3 years ago | (#35092160)

Something tells me housing, feeding, breeding, and training mice is far less expensive than with dogs.

They did what? (1)

SimonTS (1984074) | more than 3 years ago | (#35091050)

"... the mice successfully picked out 22 people carrying mock explosives". What use is that? Surely they would be rather better if they picked out people carrying real explosives. I can just see the terrorists plan now - 5 suicide bombers and 5 people carrying 'mock explosives' to fool the mice.

Re:They did what? (1)

HateBreeder (656491) | more than 3 years ago | (#35091094)

Aren't you clever? How didn't they think of that! You should charge them a consultation fee.

Re:They did what? (2)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#35091308)

Because finding mock explosives is a lot harder than finding the real thing. Usually what they do is take a material and rub it up against a small amount of explosive, like say a little bit of black powder or rub it against a bit of TNT to get the chemicals on it. So, the material itself isn't going to explode no matter how careless you are with it, but there's still chemicals from the explosive on it for the mice to identify.

In other news (1)

SimonTS (1984074) | more than 3 years ago | (#35094566)

Someone's stolen the sense of humour from /.

Re:They did what? (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#35146854)

I wonder if any practical jokers have picked up on this one yet...

A low concentration of, say, ammonium nitrate dissolved in a suitable volatile carrier fluid would be harmless enough; but could be sprayed surreptitiously on large quantities of baggage, travelers, random fake airport plants, etc. The sniffer dogs would be flipping out at assorted random people and objects all day...

Students in those charmless "zero-tolerance" districts could presumably inject small quantities of bong water into random lockers for similar comedic effect.

Modern Stonage Technology (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35091068)

This is straight out of the Flintstones! I wonder if the mice crack wise inside the cartridges.

How are they (2)

alta (1263) | more than 3 years ago | (#35091116)

Against defending against Egyptians?

Just to be clear, I hope there is no war. Egypt needs to get their stuff together and settle down.

Thank goodness they're not a nuclear weapons holding country.

Re:How are they (1)

rcamans (252182) | more than 3 years ago | (#35093130)

Not KNOWN to be, or not claiming to be a nuclear weapons country.

Re:How are they (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35094438)

I hope they are, and clear israel out of the picture... That's what's been causing all the middle-eastern issues...and you too uncle sam

Re:How are they (2)

Skidborg (1585365) | more than 3 years ago | (#35094644)

I'm sorry, you're deluded. Israel did nothing to Egypt, this situation is the responsibility of their own corrupt leaders.

Re:How are they (1)

SalaSSin (1414849) | more than 3 years ago | (#35096920)

Euhm, Six Day War [wikipedia.org] , anyone?

Re:How are they (1)

Skidborg (1585365) | more than 3 years ago | (#35098938)

All right, correction: "Israel did nothing to the Egyptians that the Egyptians did not having coming."

Re:How are they (1)

luther349 (645380) | more than 3 years ago | (#35096170)

regardless of what people say nuclear is anti war. nobody dares attack anyone with nukes just for the fear they might use them.

Re:How are they (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35096304)

Are you American? You sure sound like you are... Young Egyptians are rising up against their regime - which of course is gonna get nasty, not all things go down as "smoothly" as the Berlin Wall - and all you are concerned for is your own ass! You just completely ignore the fact that those people live in poverty, unemployment and without education and are yet brave enough to climb on tanks (!!!) to improve their situation - they do a lot better than most Americans who face similar problems but don't do anything or participate in some shitty religion or right wing party...
America once used to be as free thinking and brave as those Egyptians are now (well, before the whole slavery deal), but now it's just a giant, neurotic baby sitting atop a lot of big bombs, afraid of every noise in the world around it.

Good method! (3, Funny)

Chemisor (97276) | more than 3 years ago | (#35091182)

With a live mouse down your pants, you'll confess to anything!

Re:Good method! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35091530)

Richard Gere for you on line one, sir.

Re:Good method! (1)

Lloyd_Bryant (73136) | more than 3 years ago | (#35091780)

With a live mouse down your pants, you'll confess to anything!

For some people, maybe. But I doubt practitioners of this sport [wikipedia.org] would even be fazed by a mouse in the pants...

Re:Good method! (1)

RealGrouchy (943109) | more than 3 years ago | (#35092168)

With a live mouse down your pants, you'll confess to anything!

Yes, but usually I have a safeword.

- RG>

Re:Good method! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35094946)

My thoughts exactly. Watch your back. If you decline the scanner and object to the grope there may be a TSA agent sneaking up on you trying to slip a mouse up your leg.

Lifespan (3, Interesting)

Riceballsan (816702) | more than 3 years ago | (#35091220)

The mice may work for penuts, but training them can't be free, and then assuming the mice can be trained in 3-4 months then you still have to deal with an average lifespan of only 2 years.

Re:Lifespan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35091330)

Sure, they have a lifespan of 2 years, but I feel like their lives would be significantly shorter when sent out amongst the throng of travelers at an airport. And then there'd be the cleaner service fees for the travelers shoes.

Yee hah! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35091232)

Let the antisemitism fly!

False Positives. (3, Interesting)

Faux_Pseudo (141152) | more than 3 years ago | (#35091260)

They found all 22 out of 1000 but the article doesn't tell us how many they declined to tell us how many false positives they got. Which, in my book, makes this story useless for science but serve a use as a PR use. "Those crazy zionists have mice that can detect bombs!"
Also the story doesn't mention anything about the process or methods. Are the mice running free? Trapped in a box? Is the mouse live or dead? Is it live or dead in a box? Does it use smell or does it turn colors?

Sure some of that is joking but this article really doesn't say much and leaves a lot to speculation.

Re:False Positives. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35091444)

I wonder what happens, if some guy had his cat piss over his shoes?

Re:False Positives. (1)

z3pp3h (1842070) | more than 3 years ago | (#35091890)

You're spot-on regarding the lack of additional documentation. However, the article says this: "The device was tested last year on 1,000 shoppers in a Tel Aviv shopping mall when the mice successfully picked out 22 people carrying mock explosives." Not all 1000 shoppers were carriers. It would certainly be nice to know the number out of the 1000 that were targets.

Re:False Positives. (1)

turkeyfeathers (843622) | more than 3 years ago | (#35092282)

The bigger question is why 22 out of a 1000 random shoppers in Tel Aviv were carrying mock explosives? Is this a representative sample of the entire population?

Re:False Positives. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35092120)

If it's in a box, it's both live and dead: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schr%C3%B6dinger%27s_cat

Re:False Positives. (1)

neo-phoenix243 (1755766) | more than 3 years ago | (#35094230)

RTFA. it explains the process, simplified:

"Israeli scientists have created a detector, similar looking to a full-body scanner but with three concealed cartridges each containing eight specially trained mice. ....When the mice sense traces of drugs they run to a side chamber where the trigger an alarm, the magazine said.
Eran Lumbroso, and inventor whose company BioExplorers is hopeful a larger company will help with the final stages of development, said: "It is as if they are smelling a cat and escaping. We detect the escape."

Cat lovers beware... (1)

Shauni (1164077) | more than 3 years ago | (#35095734)

TFA says they react to explosives to "escape" like they would from a cat... so what about people who own a lot of cats?

Re:False Positives. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35100638)

The mice are in a sealed box, and are both alive and dead at the same time. Err, hang on, a Cat, and the mice, are in a sealed box, and the mice are both alive and dead.

Really Mice? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35091288)

Then terrorists will bribe them with cheese to look the other way....
Besides are you sure they're mice and not the Pan-Dimensional Galactic beings
trying to experiment on us?

Nimh lives on! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35091334)

I wonder if Jonathan Brisby died sniffing out explosives, instead.

Spy-vulchers will be next, no doubt (2)

einhverfr (238914) | more than 3 years ago | (#35091514)

This reminds me of the recent story of executing a vulture for suspicious activity (hanging around the desert) and claiming it was an Israeli spy in training. Now with news that real mice are being trained for detecting explosives, I have to wonder how much mass hysteria we will see in the Middle East.....

Re:Spy-vulchers will be next, no doubt (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 3 years ago | (#35100394)

> This reminds me of the recent story of executing a vulture...

I know of no reports that the bird was "executed".

> ...for suspicious activity...

It was wearing a radio collar with Hebrew on it (installed by an Israeli university for the usual reasons).

> I have to wonder how much mass hysteria we will see in the Middle East.....

Hopefully less the in the USA and Europe.

Who trained whom? (1)

snookerhog (1835110) | more than 3 years ago | (#35091522)

Are we really sure that it is not the mice [wikia.com] doing the experimenting?

Re:Who trained whom? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35094500)

You mean like the way cats domesticated us to get the milk out of cows?

squeaky (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35091656)

And the 22 were the ones who screamed the loudest at the sight of a mouse?

Rats detecting landmines (and TB) (1)

kanweg (771128) | more than 3 years ago | (#35091830)

Rats are being used to detect landmines (and tuberculosis) in Africa. www.herorat.org

Bert

Re:Rats detecting landmines (and TB) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35092878)

IIRC, the Russians used to "train" cattle to "detect" landmines during WWI & II. (*BOOM* - "found one!)

Darn it!! (1)

ZorinLynx (31751) | more than 3 years ago | (#35091952)

Those meddling RESCUE RANGERS!

Always ruining my plans!!!

- F. Cat

This is an excellent example (1)

Grapplebeam (1892878) | more than 3 years ago | (#35092148)

Of having too much money for R&D. When you're doing stuff as ridiculous as DARPA, you may need to rethink your objectives. Really, how much money did it take to come up with this nonsense? There's no way a startup company just decided, "Mice? Mice!" unless there was prior research, and research is expensive. Also, their website isn't very well done. Couldn't really find any important information about them.

Re:This is an excellent example (1)

Dog-Cow (21281) | more than 3 years ago | (#35092544)

Their, they're. Its OK. You'll survive.

Oh, and you may want to losen up, before you loose it!

Mice? How about rats? (1)

flappinbooger (574405) | more than 3 years ago | (#35092278)

Mice are fast and hard to see, but I would think rats have a little more brain capacity.

I've got some pet rats and they seem to be a little less hyper and less brainless than the smaller rodents like mice, gerbils and hamsters.

Rodents certainly do have keener senses than humans, and less obvious than dogs.

Note that rats and mice are not kosher.

Won't work (0)

bigsexyjoe (581721) | more than 3 years ago | (#35092324)

They won't be able to train the mice to harass Palestinians and leave Jews alone.

Re:Won't work (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#35146964)

Depending on what, if any, differences there are in genetic, dietary, and cultural/grooming habits, that might actually be pretty doable...

For an animal able to detect trace quantities of explosives, a population-level difference in dietary spice preferences, shampoo brands, or similar such trivial-but-chemically-distinguishable matters would be cake.(During Ramadan late afternoons, you could probably just use ketone-sniffing mice. Fasting makes humans smell different...)

It wouldn't do much about genetically well mixed and/or culturally highly assimilated cases; but those are probably a bit tricky to detect visually, as well...

Makes sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35092746)

I mean, after all, we already have CAT scans.

Disease Anyone?!?!?! (1)

Gravitas26 (1978270) | more than 3 years ago | (#35092764)

Sounds like a bar bet... Bet you can't take a bunch of disease spreading rodents and teach them how to track down explosives...

Possible dual purposes... (1)

Type44Q (1233630) | more than 3 years ago | (#35093116)

for when it's time to retire a mouse that's losing its effectiveness due to old age: anyone know if rodents are kosher? :p

Re:Possible dual purposes... (1)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 3 years ago | (#35093352)

You can always ship it to Bombay. I'm sure it's entrails will be most interesting after dealing with all the drugs.

Mission log (1)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 3 years ago | (#35093258)

urzu 7 to backer echo, have found what appears to be a french fry in the passenger lounge.
baker echo: ignore it, you are supposed to search out a drug shipment.
urzu 7: it appears to have catsup on it.
baker echo: I don't care. Look for the drug shipment.
urzu 6: yes, it appears to be catsup.
urzu 7: leave my evidence alone.
urzu 6: this is big enough for the both of us.
baker echo: drugs! drugs! find the damn drugs! leave the damn french fry alone.
urzu 5: definately catsup.
urzu 7: what are you doing here urzu 5?
urzu 6: yea, don't snatch our evidence.
urzu 7: MY evidence.
urzu 5: ummm. what evidence.
urzu 6: that was ours!
urzu 7: Mine!
baker echo: Drugs! Drugs! Drugs!

And these mice have had it... (1)

Maltheus (248271) | more than 3 years ago | (#35094092)

...with these motherfucking snakes on these motherfucking planes.

Terror? (1)

Ender_Wiggin (180793) | more than 3 years ago | (#35094406)

Mice scare people. If you release them into a baggage claim area to check for bombs, wouldn't you start a stampede of people and all-around terror?

If I tried this at an airport with a box of mice, I'd get arrested. If the TSA or Israel's equivalent tries it, I suppose it would be legal because of their power?

(I'm half joking, I don't think they'd just release mice into a crowd without warning)

What about rats? (1)

XCondE (615309) | more than 3 years ago | (#35095200)

We have a rat infestation problem in Sydney at the moment. Can we train them to detect bombs and sell at a mark-up?

maybe they should have kept this secret (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35096984)

People might think the trained Israeli spy vulture was real too...

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