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Bomb-Sniffing Cyborg Grasshoppers

Dogs and even pigs have long been heralded as having the ultimate snout—one capable of detecting bombs, drugs, truffles, and even human beings through thick brush and dense soil. But, courtesy of a bit of high-tech engineering, cyborg grasshoppers may be the ultimate nose after all. Researchers at the University of Missouri inserted electrodes into the antennal lobes of each grasshopper (the “brain” of the operation, where 50,000 neurons send their signals) and monitored which neurons fired when the bugs were exposed to explosive components like TNT and DNT. Then the researchers recorded which fired when they were exposed to almond oil. They proved different, implying that grasshoppers could be a useful, minute frontline assistant. Read more at the New Scientist.

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