Device to sniff out explosives at airportsJanuary 14th, 2010 - 3:11 pm ICT by IANS
Washington, Jan 14 (IANS) Scientists have developed an intelligent system that sniffs out chemicals in explosives and helps track terrorists who may fool existing security systems at airports.
Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Communication, Information Processing and Ergonomics FKIE in Wachtberg, Germany, have built the prototype.
They have named it Hamlet, for Hazardous Material Localisation and Person Tracking.
“Hamlet will alert security personnel to suspicious individuals,” says head of department Wolfgang Koch from the FKIE.
“Hamlet’s real achievement is its ability to collate all the data and convert it into a clear and accurate overall picture,” says Koch.
The system involves a network of highly-sensitive smell sensors which follow an explosive’s trail. Oscillating crystals on the sensor chips change their frequency whenever any chemical molecules is captured.
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 this, the researchers have used laser scanners.
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, said a FKIE release.
In a trial involving the German Armed Forces, FKIE researchers 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.
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Tags: chemical molecules, communication information, false alarm rate, ferrets, fraunhofer institute, german armed forces, hazardous material, hidden explosives, information processing, intelligent system, laser scanners, pedestrian flows, precise image, precise nature, security personnel, sensor chips, sensor data fusion, sensor network, suspicious individuals, wolfgang koch