Navigation Links
Scientists utilize breath and sweat to detect trapped humans
Date:9/12/2011

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 technology :

1. Clemson scientists put a (nano) spring in their step
2. City of Hope Helps KGI Launch New Management Training Program for Scientists
3. University of Pennsylvania scientists move optical computing closer to reality
4. Scientists grow nanonets able to snare added energy transfer
5. The National Cancer Institute Joins the Global Community of Scientists Now Using BIOMARKERcenter From Thomson Reuters
6. Scientists peel away the mystery behind golds catalytic prowess
7. SACHEM Launches 2-D HPLC e-Learning Program : New e-Learning Program Teaches Scientists How to Better Analyze and Prove Product Purity Through Greater Sensitivity and Precision in Identification of Trace Components
8. Vermillion and Stanford Scientists Receive Best Research Award From the PAD Coalition
9. Brewing better beer: Scientists determine the genomic origins of lager yeasts
10. Tengion Scientists Publish Positive Preclinical Findings With Neo-Organ Demonstrating Long-term Durability and Growth With Skeletal Maturation
11. CU scientists create worlds thinnest balloon -- just one atom thick
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016  Blueprint Bio, a company ... to the medical community, has closed its Series A ... Nunez . "We have received a commitment ... capital we need to meet our current goals," stated ... us the runway to complete validation on the current ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... Velocity Products, a ... designed, tuned and optimized exclusively for Okuma CNC machining centers at The International ... a collaboration among several companies with expertise in toolholding, cutting tools, machining dynamics ...
(Date:6/22/2016)...  According to Kalorama Information, the dominant trends ... include significant efforts in automation as well as ... affordable sequencers, say the healthcare market research firm, ... sample prep materials.  The healthcare market research company,s ... Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) , highlights major trends ...
(Date:6/22/2016)... ... June 22, 2016 , ... The Immigrant ... achievements and contributions to North Texas and the nation, recently held its annual ... community to the civic and economic vitality of North Texas. Proceeds from the ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
(Date:6/9/2016)... leader in attendance control systems is proud to announce the introduction of fingerprint attendance ... the right employees are actually signing in, and to even control the opening of ... ... ... Photo - ...
(Date:6/2/2016)... NEW YORK , June 2, 2016   The ... (Weather), is announcing Watson Ads, an industry-first capability in which ... advertising, by being able to ask questions via voice or ... Marketers have long ... with the consumer, that can be personal, relevant and valuable; ...
(Date:5/16/2016)... , May 16, 2016   EyeLock LLC , ... announced the opening of an IoT Center of Excellence ... and expand the development of embedded iris biometric applications. ... level of convenience and security with unmatched biometric accuracy, ... identity aside from DNA. EyeLock,s platform uses video technology ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):