Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

July 27, 2006

A rat army to the rescue?

Filed under: Technology for HLS — by Christian Beckner on July 27, 2006

IEEE Network magazine published an intriguing paper in a recent issue entitled “A wireless biosensor network using autonomously controlled animals.” (An earlier version of the report is available here). The authors envision using rats for homeland security-related search & rescue options, giving them instructions via autonomous control algorithms and creating a wireless sensor network among multiple rats wearing backpacks. This would in theory make it possible to search a rubble-strewn disaster site (perhaps after an earthquake) in a rapid manner and quickly pinpoint any survivors. The report contains this amusing chart that shows what this network would look like:

Is this idea feasible as a tool for practical homeland security applications? As is the case with any single research effort like this, it’s difficult to say. Although I have a high degree of confidence that collectively R&D efforts like this will lead to real improvements in the nation’s homeland security capabilities over the coming years.

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Comment by J.

July 28, 2006 @ 8:13 am

Makes as much sense as the Sandia National Labs proposal to use trained honeybees as biological agent detectors… yes, they’ve pitched that idea more than once…

Comment by shanavas

February 20, 2007 @ 11:19 am

I need the content of “A Wireless Biosensor Network Using Autonomously Controlled Animals” published on IEEE network May/June 2006.so irequest to send details in pdf format.

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