Rat Patrol

Remote-controlled rats to sniff out explosives

DARPA strikes again:

An elite squad of real but remote-controlled rats could soon be scouring enemy bases and sniffing out explosives for the US military.

The rodents are directed using a series of brain implants, which can be operated wirelessly from a distance of several hundred metres. Now, for the first time, the researchers behind the project have demonstrated the ability to control the rodents’ movements before activating their “sniffer dog” instincts.

John Chapin and colleagues at the State University of New York, US, say the rats could eventually sniff out hidden weapons or act as remote video sensors for military and police forces.

With colleagues from the University of Florida in Gainesville, US, they have previously shown that brain implants can be used to steer the rats over an assault course, or home in on a particular odour. But combining the two tricks is a significant step towards turning them into useful “robo-rodents”.


  1. You have to know that the PETA types will be all over this one. Cruelty to Rats! How dare the military risk a Rats life instead of a stupid grunt’s!

  2. Now if those paleontologists can just get some DNA out of that T-Rex soft tissue, we’ll finally be able to field our army of mind-controlled 50 ton dinos. I think Osama and Zarquawi would have to pray 6 times a day after they saw one of those.

  3. only water dino’s got to 50 tons. T-Rex got to around 6 tons…still thats enough to name him ‘Stampy’

  4. I’m no PETA fan, but why use cute furry innocent rats? Why not put the brain implants into the heads of captured terrorists and let them root around for the explosives? The only alteration I’d suggest is to plant an ounce of C-4 along with the remote devices so when the I.E.D was found the robot terrorist could use his head to safely detonate it!

  5. Adfrican rats have been trained to find mines. They use these instead of dogs, because dogs get bored (and they wheigh enough to set off a mine). Rats have singleminded devotion to whatever gets them food. They don’t get bored, or distracted by social issues.

  6. LOL, Toejam, was about to post that about the US army guy who killed his fellow soldiers. He could be a trial version, so he could have a close inspection of what his buddies enjoy building to kill civilians.