If you travel by air or work in a government building, you’re no stranger to long lines leading to security scanners. Annoying perhaps, but they’re safety precautions put in place to protect us.

Those who wish us harm are also no strangers to this technology. They constantly look for ways to defeat it. Enter Auburn scientists and the most sensitive, sophisticated technology of all, a dog’s nose.

Not just any dog, it’s a Vapor Wake detection canine. This animal is scientifically bred, selected and developed to detect the scent trail an explosive leaves in the air. By their side is a handler educated in research-based techniques to provide a complete security system. Mobile, non-intrusive and more sensitive than most of the devices we currently use, Vapor Wake detection teams are trained and tailored for a specific use, problem or environment.

The so-called “underwear bomber” escaped security detection but wouldn’t get past an Auburn dog. Called a “game changer” by one counter-terrorism official, Auburn’s Vapor Wake canines are used by the Transportation Security Administration, the U.S. Capitol Police, Amtrak and a range of state and local law enforcement agencies across the country.