There are an estimated 110 million land mines buried in 70 countries around the world, which kill or injure over 20,000 people (and animals) a year. An innovative new method for finding those buried land mines—and saving lives—is something straight out of 1960s science fiction. It’s not aliens, but a combination of glow-in-the-dark bacteria and lasers.
Researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem engineered a bacteria that glows when it comes in contact with a vapor released by the buried mines, the Telegraph reports. A laser system picks up the glowing emissions and reports the location of the mines to disposal teams. Using the new tech, researchers have just successfully pinpointed the location of unexploded mines in a test field, paving the way for real-world applications, where bacteria could be dropped onto minefields by drone. It’s a cutting-edge development in a life-or-death field that hasn’t had much innovation since World War II.