Until now scientists and researchers tried to develop new ways to detect bombs. They used X-Rays, chemicals and even dogs and bees. Now they have found a new way to detect bombs: Bionic Plants. This approach is called “plant nanobionics”.
Researchers from MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) put carbon nanotubes in plants , like spinach, in order for them to sense bombs and other explosive materials. These plants can now transmit information to a wireless device.
This method was based on an existing concept that has been used previously to detect bombs. The concept is to identify one type of aroma that is used in producing explosives. The researchers mentioned that these plants were made especially in order to detect bombs by sensing the chemicals used in these explosives. These compounds are called nitroaromatics.
They mentioned that if one of these compounds are found on the ground, the plant is going to emit a special signal. This fluorescent signal can only be read by infrared cameras. In order for people to know if they are in danger, an infrared camera can be attached to a smartphone and it can send an email to the user.
“This is a novel demonstration of how we have overcome the plant/human communication barrier, “said a professor from MIT, Michael Strano.
A paper was published in the Nature Material journal this Monday and it tells all about the use of plants in order to detect bombs and other related experiments. It was written by Juan Pablo Giraldo and Min Hao Wong.
The experiments that were made to find out if plants can really detect bombs if they have carbon nanotube were conducted by Michael Strano. In order to prove that these plants are capable of sensing explosives, researchers used a nanosensor and a Raspberry Pi computer that monitored and showed the information. Despite the fact that researchers predicted that the signal could be seen from a longer distance, the signal was captured at 1 meter (3.3 feet).
The researchers mentioned that they need to add more sensors to the plants in order to make them detect a bigger variety of explosives. They want to see how plants react to some chemicals if they are exposed to nanotechnology.
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