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Heartbeat betrays furry stowaways

点击量:   时间:2017-04-10 06:02:11

By Kurt Kleiner PET owners who try to beat Britain’s quarantine regulations by smuggling their loved ones through the Channel Tunnel could be in for a shock. The police are testing a device that can detect the heartbeat of an animal even when it is concealed inside a vehicle. The detector contains a very sensitive microphone and a computer algorithm that picks out the sound of a heartbeat from background noise. It was developed by Lockheed Martin Energy Systems at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, where it was originally used to catch people trying to get into the lab by hiding in lorries. Lockheed Martin has since sold several of the $50 000 detectors to prisons to prevent escapes. “It can detect a millionth of an inch movement. The beating heart actually moves the vehicle in time with the heartbeat,” says Leo Labaj, head of Lockheed’s special projects office. Labaj says the company has just sold a small version of the device, about the size of a laptop computer, to the British Police Scientific Development Branch in West Sussex. The police will test its ability to spot pet smugglers as they leave the Channel Tunnel. To use the device,