Florida International University (FIU) is pursuing commercial partners interested in developing and commercializing Molecularly Encapsulated Sol-Gel Training Aids. FIU inventors have designed novel training aids by trapping an odorant inside a sol-gel polymeric network, creating a device that would slowly dissipate the active odorant of an illicit material.
Biological detector animals, such as canines, are valuable tools for the rapid, onsite detection of illicit materials; however, they require extensive training to ensure field deployability with high degree of reliability. A safe method of training involves the uses of mimics, in which biological detector animals are presented with the active odors of volatile organic compounds that mimic the odors of the contraband they are being trained on.
Currently available training aids suffer from very specific drawbacks, including short shelf life, field contamination concerns, and limited dissipation manipulation capabilities.
Researchers at FIU have developed a training aid that allows handlers to adjust the abundance of odors presented to their animals, familiarizing themselves with their animal’s strengths and weaknesses. Dissipation rate can also be controlled through temperature adjustments. Most importantly, the training aids have the unique ability of not dissipating any odors when frozen. This is particularly advantageous because it allows for preservation of the training materials when being shipped or stored.
The product has been made and tested in the laboratory and also with specially trained detection canines for the Miami-Dade Police Department.
- Drug and/or explosive animal training facilities such as K-9 unit, and TSA
- Provides six times longer shelf-life than currently available training aids
- Allows for polymeric network manipulation, temperature manipulation, and polymer containment
- Is significantly less prone to field contamination
- Is a cost efficient option for animal handlers and trainers