Navigation Links
Scientists utilise breath and sweat to detect trapped humans
Date:9/11/2011

Molecules in their breath, sweat and skin have been used to detect humans in a simulation of a collapsed building, raising the prospect of portable sensors for use in real-life situations, such as the devastating aftermath of the 9/11 attacks and more recent disasters in New Zealand and Japan.

Published today, Monday 12 September, in IOP Publishing's Journal of Breath Research, the study examined flumes of air to create a preliminary profile of molecules that could indicate human activity in a disaster zone, and it is notable for being the first of its kind to use human participants.

Over five days, in six-hour intervals, eight participants entered a simulator of a collapsed glass-clad reinforced-concrete building, which was designed, built and tested by the researchers from Loughborough University, National Technical University of Athens, University of Babe-Bolyai and University of Dortmund.

A variety of sensors, positioned throughout the simulator, rapidly detected carbon dioxide (CO2) and ammonia (NH3) with high-sensitivity in the plumes of air that travelled through the constructed rubble, highlighting their effectiveness as potential indicators.

In addition to these molecules, a large number of volatile organic compounds were detected; acetone and isoprene being the most prominent potential markers.

Interestingly, there was a marked decrease in NH3 levels when the participants were asleep; a finding the researchers could not explain and will investigate further, along with the build-up of acetone with increasing food withdrawal and the presence of detectable molecules in urine.

When trapped within a void of a collapsed building, casualties release volatile metabolites -- products of the body's natural breakdown mechanisms -- through their breath, skin and other bodily fluids, which can have complicated interactions with the building materials. Furthermore, these interactions change with conditions such as humidity, heat, and wind strength and direction, making the detection process much more difficult.

By creating a simulator that closely mimicked a real-life scenario, as well as using human participants, the researchers provided the most comprehensive insight into the processes that occur within disaster sites, raising the prospect of more accurate portable detection systems in the future.

The simulator itself was composed of three separate sections: the environmental section, which maintained the air flow, humidity and temperature; the void section, in which the participant was laid down; and the collapsed-building section, which was composed of densely packed building materials.

The researchers emphasised that the most important element of the study was the provision of safe and ethical experimental conditions for both the volunteers and research staff.

Co-author of the study, Professor Paul Thomas of Loughborough University, said, "This is the first scientific study on sensing systems that could detect trapped people. The development of a portable detection device based on metabolites of breath, sweat and skin could hold several advantages over current techniques.

"A device could be used in the field without laboratory support. It could monitor signs of life for prolonged periods and be deployed in large numbers, as opposed to a handful of dogs working, at risk to themselves and their handlers, for 20 minutes before needing extensive rest."

An Institute of Physics spokesperson said, "As the first study of its kind, this preliminary work can be built upon to help prepare for future disasters such as those tragedies we've seen recently in Japan and New Zealand."

"The trapped human experiment" was performed under the EC FP7 project "Second Generation Locator for Urban Search and Rescue" Operations.


'/>"/>

Contact: Michael Bishop
michael.bishop@iop.org
01-179-301-032
Institute of Physics
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. USC scientists generate first detailed map of human neuroreceptor
2. USC scientists probe connection between sight and touch in the brain
3. Biomedical/health informatics scientists to present cutting-edge science, health IT
4. Scientists offer way to address age-old questions
5. USC scientists identify key protein linked to acute liver failure
6. Scientists make turfgrass safer for animals, deadly for insects
7. Scripps Research scientists pinpoint shape-shifting mechanism critical to protein signaling
8. New cellular surprise may help scientists better understand human mitochondrial diseases
9. Scripps Research scientists establish new class of anti-diabetic compound
10. Scripps Research scientists produce first stem cells from endangered species
11. Scientists announce human intestinal stem cell breakthrough for regenerative medicine
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/24/2017)... April 24, 2017 Janice Kephart ... with  Identity Strategy Partners, LLP (IdSP) , today ... without President Trump,s March 6, 2017 Executive ... , refugee vetting can be instilled with greater confidence, ... now, all refugee applications are suspended by until ...
(Date:4/18/2017)... Calif. , April 18, 2017  Socionext Inc., a global ... of a media edge server, the M820, which features the company,s ... recognition software provided by Tera Probe, Inc., will be showcased during ... at the NAB show at the Las Vegas ... ...
(Date:4/13/2017)... 13, 2017 UBM,s Advanced Design and Manufacturing ... feature emerging and evolving technology through its 3D Printing ... run alongside the expo portion of the event and ... demonstrations focused on trending topics within 3D printing and ... manufacturing event will take place June 13-15, 2017 at the ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/23/2017)... ... May 23, 2017 , ... Bacterial biofilms, surface adherent communities of bacteria ... pathologies ranging from food poisoning and catheter infections to gum disease and the rejection ... of billions of dollars per year, there is currently a paucity of means for ...
(Date:5/22/2017)... , ... May 22, 2017 , ... ... that it is exhibiting in booth B2 at the Association for Pathology ... 22-25. , In addition to demonstrating its Cancer Diagnostic Cockpit and Consultation ...
(Date:5/18/2017)... ... May 18, 2017 , ... Dr. Ralph Mobbs of ... Prince Of Wales Private Hospital. The procedure was performed on a 46-year-old male ... conservative treatments prior to undergoing surgery. , The AxioMed viscoelastic disc is a ...
(Date:5/18/2017)... ... 2017 , ... Cognition Corporation ( http://www.cognition.us ), ... version 9.0 of the Cognition Cockpit platform. , “Our whole team has put ... CEO of Cognition. “We’re thrilled to finally be able to release it to ...
Breaking Biology Technology: