It is widely acknowledged that dogs play a fundamental role in the detection of explosives and other types of contraband due to their enhanced olfactory ability relative to human beings. However, in order to achieve a suitable response from a dog upon the discovery of a substance, the animal needs to undergo substantial training, which is an expensive operation. In addition, there is an ongoing need to maintain the dog’s detection capability, which requires refresher training every few weeks. It is also reported that a dog can only be operational for up to 2 hours before the ambient temperature and the general psychological state of the dog start to impact the detection capability. In addition to these cost, there is also a significant cost in employing and maintaining the skills of the dog handler who needs to understand the basic principles of how the dog has been conditioned and to have a working knowledge of applying those principles in everyday environments.

While the dog will remain a central part of the detection process, both sensor technology and low power embedded system computing have improved to the extent that the time is now right to develop a substantially improved detection device that can complement the role played by dogs.

The HANDHOLD project will develop a modular, reconfigurable sensor system for active stand-off deployment for the detection of chemical (C), biological (B), radiological (R), nuclear (N) and explosive (E) (CBRNE) substances.

Lead Institution

Centre for Secure Information Technologies (CSIT), Queen's University Belfast In collaboration with 8 European partners under the 7th Framework Programme (FP7)

Key word(s)

CBRNE, chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, explosive, sniffer

Associated Consultants

  • Dr David Linton

Project Funding

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