Portuguese designer Susana Soares has developed a project that involves utilizing the heightened senses of bees to detect illnesses in humans. The Bee’s project states that “bees can be trained within 10 minutes using Pavlov’s reflex to target a wide range of natural and man-made chemicals and odours, including the biomarkers associated with certain diseases.”
Using custom built glass containers with two separate chambers, participants can exhale into the smaller compartment as bees buzz about in the larger section. The bees, who naturally have an extraordinary sense of smell, are trained to track certain scents that are indicative of specific diseases. As a result, the bees would rush into the smaller chamber of the glass device, if they detected the presence of the specific disease they were trained to identify.
As for the training process, the bees would be inserted into a container and exposed to the respective odor they are being trained to detect. At each dose of exposure, they would simultaneously be rewarded with a sweet solution of water and sugar. Eventually, the odor would be associated with food, leading them to rush towards the scent. Essentially, this project could be a means of early cancer and diabetes detection.