Updated: Thursday, 06 May 2010, 10:43 AM EDT
Published : Thursday, 06 May 2010, 10:09 AM EDT
DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) -
Thousands of innocent people have died in suicide bombings around the globe and the number of such incidents is on the rise. That's why research going on right now in the Dayton area is so important. It might actually stop a terrorist in his or her tracks and it's only on 2 News.
Researchers at the Air Force Institute of Technology are working with area universities to come up with a model could save lives.
A year and a half ago Dr. Ron Tuttle hit the ground walking. That's the focus of his research. He and others like Dr. Kimberly Kendricks of Central State University believe that if you study the way people move with and without weight on their bodies you can come up with a database that will give you enough information to identify suicide bombers before it's too late.
"As long as we have video data we can isolate certain places on the body and form this mathematical model and make certain conclusions form the information gathered," said Dr. Kendricks.
Researchers send dozens of subjects into a room full of cameras. The ones with red lights pick up sticky balls placed on hats, shirts, and bracelets. The balls serve as markers for gait analysis because your pattern of walking includes your natural arm swing, where your shoulders and wrists are in motion.
Since we all don't walk alike researchers need to test people of various sizes. I became part of their database by walking around a course outside.
Like dozens of people before me I was asked to walk around once then turn around and come back to the starting position, first without a load then with a vest weighing between 15 and 20 lbs.
The weighted vest represents an explosive device.
The extra weight no doubt shifted my steps. My movement was captured on videotape.
Dr. Tuttle said, "I think we can take pride in the fact that we're contributing to the database that is being collected by other universities. It's a team effort. AFIT I think is playing a significant role in collecting a database that includes about 100 subjects. It will be one of the biggest ones around for that purpose.
Dr. Tuttle said he sees the day coming when companies and governments will pull people aside, possible threats, not because of how they look but because of how they're walking. And Dr. Kendricks told me that's what makes her work even harder because she knows the results can make the public safer.