Portuguese designer Susana Soares has developed a device for detecting cancer and other serious diseases using trained bees.
It’s simple: the patient exhales into a glass chamber in which the bees have been placed before; if they detect cancer (“..the odour on the patient’s breath that they have been trained to target”), the bees fly into a smaller secondary chamber.
“Bees can be trained to detect specific chemical odours, including the biomarkers associated with diseases such as tuberculosis, lung, skin and pancreatic cancer.”
“The bees can be trained within 10 minutes,” explains Soares. “Training simply consists of exposing the bees to a specific odour and then feeding them with a solution of water and sugar, therefore they associate that odour with a food reward.”…
“There’s plenty of interest in the project especially from charities and further applications as a cost effective early detection of illness, specifically in developing countries,” Soares said.
Could it really be that simple?