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Double-Blind Field Evaluation of the MOLE Programmable Detection System

NCJ Number
Date Published
10 pages

This report presents results of a double-blind field evaluation of the MOLE Programmable Detection System’s explosives detection capability.


The MOLE Programmable Detection System (MOLE) was manufactured by Global Technical Ltd. of Kent, United Kingdom to be able to detect a number of explosive substances simultaneously, as well as one at a time. A double blind field test was utilized to assess the MOLE, which has a detection system that is subject to human interaction and interpretation. The target explosive material used for the evaluation was approximately 20 grams of C4 explosive, which was placed in a plastic bag with a twist top and enclosed in a plastic 35-mm film canister. The performance of the MOLE in detecting the explosives was compared against the detection of the explosives by random chance; it was determined that in 20 trials, approximately 5 selections would be correct based on random chance alone. Results of the field evaluation revealed that the MOLE correctly identified the explosives in 6 of the 20 trials, or in 33.3 percent of the cases. As such, it was concluded that the MOLE performed no better at explosive detection than a random selection process. To ensure that no contamination occurred to skew the evaluation results, the outside of the test materials were examined with an ion mobility spectrometer for the presence of explosives. Figures, tables

Date Published: January 1, 2002