Microscopic bomb detector to be developed by RaytheonNews
November 12, 2019
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. Raytheon is using synthetic biology science to create a new method for detecting buried explosives, using bacteria as sensors. Under a contract from the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), Raytheon and partner Worcester Polytechnic Institute will program two bacterial strains to monitor ground surfaces for explosive materials.
The first strain will detect the presence or absence of explosives buried underground. If the first strain detects explosives, the second strain will produce a glowing light on the ground's surface. Remote cameras or unmanned aerial vehicles can then be used to survey large areas for the telltale luminescence.
According to researchers, synthetic biology combines principles of electrical engineering with computer science to modify DNA. The Subterranean Surveillance program is one example in which advances in synthetic biology are being used to develop sensors that can reveal a variety of subterranean phenomena at a distance.