At this year’s Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven, Portuguese designer Susana Soares presented a device that can detect cancer and other diseases using honey bees. Known for their extraordinary sense of smell, bees can detect airborne molecules in the parts per trillion range and can be trained to recognize certain smells associated with diseases such as lung, skin and pancreatic cancer, as well as tuberculosis.
- The bees are placed in a glass chamber which the patient exhales from
- If bees fly into a secondary chamber then ‘the disease has been detected’
- The inventor Susana Soares says bees can be trained in 10 minutes
Scientists have discovered that honey bees have an excellent sense of smell which is better than a sniffer dog.
Bees can be trained to detect bombs and one company called Insectinel is training ‘sniffer bees’ to work in counter-terrorist operations.
A bee is trained by exposing it to certain odours before feeding them a solution of water and sugar.
The bees then remember the smell for the rest of their lives if they are always rewarded with sugar.
The glass object has a big chamber and a small chamber where the bees go if they detect the disease.
Research carried out by scientists has suggested that bees can accurately diagnose diseases such as tuberculosis, lung and skin cancer as well as diabetes.