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Biometric “fear detector” based on smelling traveler’s armpits

“Evidence that the smell of fear is real was uncovered by US scientists last year who studied the underarm secretions of 20 terrified novice skydivers and found that people appear to respond unconsciously to the sweat smell of a frightened person. Now the Telegraph reports that researchers hope a ‘fear detector’ will make it possible to identify individuals at check points who are up to no good. ‘The challenge lies in the characterization and identification of the specific chemical that gives away the signature of human fear, especially the fear in relation to criminal acts,’ says Professor Tong Tun at City University London, who leads the team developing security sensor systems that can detect the human fear pheromone. The project will look at potential obstacles to the device, such as the effects of perfume and the variances in pheromone production and if the initial 18-month feasibility study is successful, the first detectors could be developed in the next two to three years. ‘I do not see any particular reason why similar sensor techniques cannot be expanded to identify human smells by race, age or gender to build a profile of a criminal during or after an incident,’ Tong added.”


Of course, this all depends on just how scared a terrorist trained in guerrilla warfare, with the self righteous religious belief that he/she is doing God’s work which rivals even the most zealous evangelist you can find… it all depends on just how scared this person is going to be.

I bet this device they are cooking up will flag more grannies, kids, and cheating husbands flying with their spouses than catch any actual terrorists. However, it may be effective in finding “small time” criminals and the one-off “Oklahoma City” bomber types… but the more conviction a person has that they are doing the right thing, the less effective a fear detector or biometric intent detector is going to be.

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