Now, electronic noses that can 'sniff out' terrorists

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Washington, Jan 14 (ANI): Newly developed sensitive electronic noses can now sniff out terrorists by capturing the smell of the explosives

Called HAMLeT, which stands for Hazardous Material Localization and Person Tracking, the new intelligent system has been developed by researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Communication, Information Processing and Ergonomics FKIE in Wachtberg.

The system processes the acquired data, correlates it with individuals' movement and ultimately tracks down the suspects.

"HAMLeT will alert security personnel to suspicious individuals," said head of department Dr. Wolfgang Koch from the FKIE.

The system involves a network of highly sensitive smell sensors, which follow an explosive's trail.

There are oscillating crystals on the sensor chips, and whenever the electronic noses capture chemical molecules, their oscillation frequency changes.

The precise nature of the change is different for different substances.

A further component in the system - the sensor's data fusion function - traces the explosive's path and ferrets out the carrier.

A second sensor network is needed to track the route the individual takes, for which, the researchers have used laser scanners.

"HAMLeT's real achievement is its ability to collate all the data and convert it into a clear and accurate overall picture," said Koch.

The sensor data fusion process employs complex algorithms, which allow HAMLeT to build up a precise image of pedestrian flows and connect a particular smell with a specific individual.

In a trial involving the German Armed Forces, researchers at the FKIE proved the system's ability to track down five "terrorists" carrying hidden explosives.

The scientists are now working to refine the prototype's algorithms in order to reduce the false alarm rate. (ANI)

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