Rats are being trained to assist human rescuers locate survivors stuck in earthquake debris. The rats, able to enter small spaces that humans cannot, wear tiny backpacks equipped with location trackers and microphones that allows human rescuers locate and communicate with trapped survivors. The animals are a part of The Hero Rats Project.
The innovative project is spearheaded by research scientist Dr. Donna Kean, from Glasgow, Scotland. So far, seven rats have gone through training, taking only two weeks to get up to speed on the tasks! For the training, the project uses homemade prototype backpacks containing a microphone. The rats learn to wear the backpacks and are sent into mock debris.