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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/H024948/1
Title: 'The smell of fear': feasibility study on the correlation of human smell and abnormal behaviour
Principal Investigator: Sun, Professor T
Other Investigators:
Smith, Dr G Grattan, Professor KT Burns, Dr D
Baillie, Professor L Bucher, Dr GF Ayton, Professor P
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Home Office
Department: Sch of Engineering and Mathematical Sci
Organisation: City, University of London
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 November 2009 Ends: 31 October 2011 Value (£): 201,718
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Chemical Biology Instrumentation Eng. & Dev.
Vision & Senses - ICT appl.
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Aerospace, Defence and Marine Electronics
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
11 Sep 2009 Cross-Disciplinary Feasibility Account Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
The proposal has been designed to explore a novel and holistic approach which will engage experts across the full spectrum of their skills-base, through a suite of short-term research activities that are linked in theme and approach, yet are highly adventurous and in areas highly speculative in nature, aiming to provide an effective means for better and non-invasive human monitoring for security applications. Prior studies have shown that human odours can provide relevant biological information about their 'sender' and a key target of this approach is the fusion of the analysis of this type of olfactory communication with associated physiological and behavioural indications. This shows advantages particularly when the other two major 'senses', i.e. the visual and acoustic, are functionally restricted, most frequently the case in security screening. The interdisciplinary approach proposed addresses the detection of human 'fear' - focusing on fear pheromone as a key physiological indicator and correlating the information with human abnormal behaviour. Although simple to describe in these terms, real success envisaged is only possible when factors across the spectrum from the chemical, physical, engineering to the social sciences and psychology are effectively integrated, rather than viewed in isolation. The work will target as an outcome being able to determine the viability and efficacy of such an integrated approach to the detection of these human alarm signals: applied in assessing the stress status of an individual and interpreting this in a security-critical context. The application domain will allow addressing the feasibility of novel methods based on this approach for the rapid and accurate identification of criminal or terrorist suspects in public areas, e.g. at airports, railway stations or approaching the London Olympics, with minimum disruption to routine operations.
Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Date Materialised
Sectors submitted by the Researcher
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Project URL:  
Further Information:  
Organisation Website: http://www.city.ac.uk