Ultima Thule

In ancient times the northernmost region of the habitable world - hence, any distant, unknown or mysterious land.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

New Detectors Sniff Terrorists' Scents

By Aussiegirl

This seems like an invitation to a lot of bad jokes, but evidently it is actually being investigated -- already they can track terrorist mice. So rather than investigate what reading matter a suspected terrorist has been looking at in the library, now they will also track how much deodorant he buys. --- Listen, forget all the humor, I don't care what it takes to get the bad guys, we've got to get them before they get us!

Defense Tech: New Detectors Sniff Terrorists' Scents

The Pentagon's fringe science arm wants to keep track of potential enemies-of-the-state in every way imaginable: not just by sight, or by sound, or by their e-mail; but by their smell, as well.

Darpa's "Unique Signature Detection Project (formerly known as the Odortype Detection program)" aims to sniff out genetic markers in "human emanations (urine, sweat, etc.)" that "can be used to identify and distinguish specific high-level-of-interest individuals within groups of enemy troops."

"Recent experimental results" show that chemical compounds in a mouse's "urinary" scent produces an "odortype" that's unique to each individual rodent, Darpa observes in its original solicitation for the project. "Although experimental data for humans is far less quantitative," the agency is hoping that a similarly "genetically determined," "exploitable chemosignal" can be found in people, too. [....]
The sniffing-out process has already begun in the lab, one professor told Business Week last year. A person's smell "is a cocktail of hundreds of molecules... The question is whether it's a gin and tonic or a margarita." Making those distinictions out in the odorifically-complex real world won't be easy, he added.

Darpa's smell detector is part of a larger, $15 million-per-year effort to develop "novel sensors" for U.S. troop operating in "urban settings." The goal of the Urban Vision program is "to enable the warfighter to 'see' movers within a building using a variety of fused multi-spectral techniques." The "Enemy Dismount Intrusion Detection program," on the other hand, "will develop a chemical sensor that is capable of providing an advanced warning of the presence of enemy troops or combatants by detecting the chemical emissions... that are common to all humans."


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