DARPA Eyes Quantum Physics to Build Bio Sensors; Matt Goodman Comments

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DARPAThe Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is considering an effort to research how to build bio-inspired sensors following a study of the impact of electromagnetic noise on a bird’s internal magnetic compass.

Prof. Henrik Mouritsen led the teams from the University of Oldenburg and the University of Oxford to work on DARPA’s Quantum Effects in Biological Environments program between 2005 and 2011, DARPA said Friday.

The researchers performed the experiments using European robins and found that electromagnetic noise could impair a bird’s magnetic compass.

Matt Goodman, program manager for QuBE, said the phenomena could be due to the principles of quantum physics.

“The QuBE program is designed to test this hypothesis. The work we’re pursuing questions fundamental assumptions about how biological processes work,” added Goodman.

The Oldenburg team observed that European robins that had been exposed to constant electromagnetic noise failed to choose a migratory direction while the same family of birds that had been protected from noise found its orientation.

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