Sniffer for concealed people discovery -  SNOOPY

Project acronym:
Project full title: “Sniffer for concealed people discovery”
Grant agreement n. 313110
THEME: SEC-2012.34-4, Innovative, cost-efficient, and reliable technology to detect humans hidden in vehicles / closed compartments
Starting date: January 1st, 2014. Duration: 3 years (till december 31st, 2016)

Project Web-site:


Illegal traffic of people is a major issue in security. The need to face this crime as well as the planning of countermeasures and the identification of missing capabilities has been the subject of several security programs proposed both at a world-wide and an European level. Nowadays, dogs represent the most effective “tool” to face these traffics, but they present intrinsic drawbacks that limit their continuous and systematic use: they can’t work in a 24/7 way (24 hours per day and 7 days per week).

The SNOOPY project aims to the development of a handheld artificial sniffer system for customs/police inspection purposes, e.g. the control of freight containers. The artificial system should be able to seek hidden, living persons. The instrument consists of a vapor sampling pump unit, an enrichment unit, a desorption unit, a detection unit (sensor array) and an alarm indicator unit. Different kinds of sensors will be used together with pattern recognition software, so that each target can be detected as selective as possible. The sniffer instrument will be benchmarked towards dogs and towards ion mobility spectrometry.

Most of human odors are produced by the skin. Human odor results from the combined action of both the skin glands and the bacterial populations localized at skin surfaces, which live by metabolizing and transforming organic compounds that they are able to absorb on the skin surface. The identification and the detection of this particular molecules is the fundamental point of the development of SNOOPY instrument.

The SNOOPY sniffer will be:
1) portable, thanks to the use of low-weight, small size and low-power consumption technologies;
2) suited to work in a 24/7 way;
3) able to recognize the sniffed atmospheres on its own;
4) Equipped with a small pipe to collect odors in proximity of small apertures;
5) user friendly: the user will receive a direct information and him/her will not be required to have scientific or technical competences to interpret the instrument display.
The instruments can be used in addition to K9-Unit to define its sensitivity and selectivity in comparison with dogs trained.


Participant N.* Participant organization name Country
1 (coordinator) University of Brescia (UNIBS) Italy
2 Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR) Italy
3 University of Tor Vergata (UTOV) Italy
5 C-Tech Innovation Ltd. (CTECH) United Kingdom
6 Center for Security Studies (KEMEA) Greece