“Trained sniffer bees are the key components of new technology that could stop terrorists in their tracks”
The Engineer of this week has devoted a two-page spread to the sniffer-bee project we’ve been working on with Inscentinel for some time. It’s a very interesting and unusual project to work on…
I first came across Selfoc Lens Arrays (SLAs) about 20 years ago.
At that time I was working as a product development engineer for the Dutch copier and printer manufacturer Océ, and involved in the design of a meter-wide LED print head. We used an SLA spanning the full width of the printhead to project an image of a strip of over 10,000 LEDs onto a photoconductor drum.
Last Wednesday I attended the seminar on “Detection Systems for Biological threats” in London, organised by the Sensors & Instrumentation KTN.
There was a good range of speakers and attendees from industry, academia and government, and some interesting and thought-provoking talks.
Dr. Ian Lawston – chief scientist at the Dstl detection department – discussed the performance requirements for detection technologies. Apart from the obvious needs for sensitive detection of as many threats as possible, he emphasised that currently improvements are most needed not in the detection technology itself, but in the area of sample collection and processing.
A prototype explosives detector I designed and built for Inscentinel was featured in an article by Richard Savill on page 3 of the Daily Telegraph—the full text follows:
Bees, latest weapon in the war on terrorism
Honeybees trained to sniff out explosives could soon be used at airports in the fight against terrorism.
Researchers have trained bees to extend their proboscis when smelling a particular explosive and have also developed a “sniffer box” to indicate when the bees show signs of detecting explosives. A spokesman for Inscentinel, of Harpenden, Herts, said teams of sniffer bees could one day be part of the screening process at airports and other venues, including museums and major sporting events.