Auburn University’s VAPOR WAKE® technology awarded patent

Article body

Auburn University was recently issued the patent for "Dynamic Canine Tracking Method for Hazardous and Illicit Substances" – better known as its VAPOR WAKE® technology – which has been licensed to the Auburn Research and Technology Foundation, or ARTF.

Dogs trained to detect hand-carried and body-worn hazardous materials at events and high pedestrian traffic areas will be trained with the U.S. patented VAPOR WAKE® technology created at Auburn University’s College of Veterinary Medicine.

Paul Waggoner, co-director of the Canine Performance Sciences program in the College of Veterinary Medicine and one of the VAPOR WAKE® inventors, said earning the patent gives Auburn intellectual property rights to the technology, which prohibits others from copying it and potentially lessening the effectiveness.

VAPOR WAKE® is a scientifically based method for selecting, training and employing dogs for the detection of hand-carried and body-worn hazardous materials, such as person-borne improvised explosive devices. VAPOR WAKE® dogs are uniquely suited for screening large numbers of persons at events, high pedestrian traffic areas and mass transit hubs.

ARTF has a license agreement for VAPOR WAKE® technology with American K-9 Detection Services, or AMK9, which in conjunction with the college, offers the patented VAPOR WAKE® technology to government and industry. AMK9 will train dog-handler teams to employ the technology in the field.

"Licensing of VAPOR WAKE® technology through the ARTF to AMK9 has given Auburn a unique opportunity to more effectively market these dogs, while allowing our scientists to focus on what we do best: advancing the science of detection," said Dr. Calvin Johnson, dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine.

Auburn began developing the dog detector technology in 2005 and applied for a patent in 2009. Waggoner and Jeanne Brock, also with Canine Performance Sciences, and former Auburn employees John Pearce, Tim Baird, Daniel MacAfee and Robert Leonard, now with AMK9, and David Baffa, now with the Transportation Security Administration, are the inventors of VAPOR WAKE®.

Waggoner said more than 100 dogs have been trained with the technology and employed in various missions since its development.

VAPOR WAKE® is the first detector dog technology to be certified by the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security and is the only patented canine technology capable of detecting moving explosives hidden on a person.

Related Media

Auburn University is a nationally ranked land grant institution recognized for its commitment to world-class scholarship, interdisciplinary research with an elite, top-tier Carnegie R1 classification, life-changing outreach with Carnegie’s Community Engagement designation and an undergraduate education experience second to none. Auburn is home to more than 30,000 students, and its faculty and research partners collaborate to develop and deliver meaningful scholarship, science and technology-based advancements that meet pressing regional, national and global needs. Auburn’s commitment to active student engagement, professional success and public/private partnership drives a growing reputation for outreach and extension that delivers broad economic, health and societal impact.