Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) has been awarded a contract by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Defense Sciences Office to design and develop a sensor inspired by a canine's olfactory system, or sense of smell. The contract has a potential value of $18 million if all options are exercised. The effort is part of DARPA's RealNose Program. The program's goal is to build an artificial "nose" to create a breakthrough detection system with capabilities beyond that of a dog. Under the contract, SAIC will model, design and develop this sensor, which will include subsystems for air/odor intake, detection using olfactory receptors, signal transduction and pattern recognition to identify odors. The sensor could help protect U.S. forces in war zones by detecting explosives and chemical or biological weapons.