US War Dog Association | National Headquarters

Can mass spectrometers rival the canine nose?

Locating survivors trapped within rubble is a demanding job. Dogs are the best tool we have at the present time but they have difficulty identifying the victims most in need of help, namely, those that are still alive. Meanwhile, man’s answer to Fido’s soggy snout, the mass spectrometer, has been improved to the point that many diseases can be detected from the breath alone. This suggests the possibility that they might be adapted to detect the signatures of life from the gases exhaled by trapped victims. Will the technology be enough just to match the canine nose or will these machines also need to perform the more subtle task of navigating these plumes to be effective?

Read More: