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Thread: Sensitivity of a dog's nose - 2002 Study from Sandia Laboratory

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    Apr 2008

    Default Sensitivity of a dog's nose - 2002 Study from Sandia Laboratory

    Here is an interesting excerpt from a study from Sandia Laboratories in 2002. It basically says that a trained mine detection dog can detect a target odor down in the concentration range of 100 parts per trillion. That in Sandia's words is "equivalent to 1 molecule per sniff".

    What does a field trial dog smell when running 30th down the same path to the same area of fall where 29 prior dogs have run and where 29 prior birds have fallen and 29 birds carried back shedding scent particles, brushing against bushes, etc.? How about the 60th dog?

    Do winning field trial dogs have a propensity to pay less attention to odor?

    "As dogs are actively engaged in mine detection work, it is reasonable to assume that
    the vapour-sensing thresholds and performance capabilities have been carefully
    measured. This is not the case. Only recently have we begun to measure the vapour
    sensing thresholds of trained mine detection dogs. This has been difficult, because
    the dogsí vapour-sensing capability far surpasses the capability of modern
    measurement techniques. Even so, with extrapolation and estimation techniques, we
    find that the dog is capable of sensing at extraordinary low levels, levels that approach
    that of one molecule per sniff. More research is needed to measure the vapour sensing
    performance of greater numbers of individual dogs, including the reliability at these
    extremely low concentrations."

    From: Mine Detection Dogs: Training, Operations and Odour Detection- Sandia Laboratories, 2002

    Chapter 5
    Odour detection: the theory and the practice
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    Last edited by Robert Milner; 01-13-2015 at 03:44 PM. Reason: Add attachment - Research Project
    Robert Milner

    "When he stood up to speak, battalions of words issued forth from his mouth and scoured the countryside in search of an idea, and when they found one, they swiftly and thoroughly beat it to death." ---- -Anonymous

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