The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has signed a contract with Raytheon, an American company, to develop an effective mine detection system and improvised explosive devices (IED). According to Raytheon, the new explosive detection system will use modified bacteria.
Today, the military uses several methods to search for improvised explosive devices. In particular, metal detectors, thermal imaging systems, as well as animals are used to detect them. The search for mines takes a lot of time and poses a serious threat to the health and life of sappers.
It is believed that the explosive detection system developed by Raytheon will make the search for mines or improvised explosives devices safer. The project involves the creation of an unmanned complex, which will sow the terrain that needs to be examined for mines with modified bacteria.
Upon contact with the explosive, bacteria will begin to secrete a protein that emits a fluorescent glow. Then this glow will be recorded by sensors on board the drone. What kind of explosives can modified bacteria be able to detect has not been specified.
In 2017, researchers from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem introduced modified E. coli that can produce fluorescent protein when it comes in contact with trinitrotoluene or its breakdown products.