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Rats Are Being Trained To Help Rescue Earthquake Survivors



They're Putting High Tech Bookbags On Rats Back So They Can Communicates With Responders

They’re Putting High Tech Bookbags On Rats Back So They Can Communicates With Responders

Reviled by most, the resourceful rat may finally have something to offer us humans.

The project from APOPO, a Belgian non-profit that trains animals to save lives, is fitting rats with small specialized backpacks to help emergency crews search for survivors in the event of building collapses.

According to researchers on the project, their small size and excellent smell of the rodents, plus their adventures spirit makes them the perfect animal to help in such disasters.

“Rats are typically quite curious and like to explore – and that is key for search and rescue,” says Donna Kean, a behavioral research scientist and leader of the project, per CNN.

The rats aren’t ready to be deployed into collapsed buildings just yet, but they’re currently being trained in a simulator disaster area, during 15-minute sessions five days a week, going through the motions of a real rescue.

In the simulated exercises, the rats have to find the person “trapped” in the rubble, then pull a switch on their tiny vest that triggers a beeper, and then return to their handles where they’re given a treat.

The rodent’s backpacks are fashioned with a video camera, but scientists are hoping to make it “as small as possible” without losing any functionality, and also include a two-way microphone and location transmitter to help locate survivors and communicate with people.

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