Scientists at the University of Sheffield have created a device dubbed the "cargo-screening ferret
" that is able to detect drugs, weapons, and even illegal immigrants concealed in cargo containers. The 30cm-long robot is equipped with tiny sensors that are more sensitive than any currently employed in conventional cargo scanners. The ferret will attach itself magnetically to the inside of a cargo container and sweep it for contraband, while sending a steady stream of information back to its controller. Project leader Dr Tony Dodd said, "It's essential we develop something which is simple to operate and which border agents can have total confidence in. The ferret will be able to drop small probes down through the cargo and so pinpoint exactly where contraband is concealed."