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Artificial Dog Nose

December 5, 2016

Researchers reverse engineer one of nature’s greatest sniffers.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):

A nosey explosives detector. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Researchers have designed an artificial canine nose that sniffs out explosives better than currently available technologies. Previous attempts to mimic our furry friends’ sense of smell have focused more on their amazing ability to detect trace amounts of chemicals than the physical features of their noses.

MATTHEW STAYCATES (National Institute of Standards and Technology):

When he exhales, the dog is literally pulling new fresh air, new scent, from pretty impressive distances ahead of himself. So we printed on a 3D printer what were essentially little nostrils that plug onto the inlet of a commercially available vapor detector that make it sniff like a dog.

HIRSHON:

National Institute of Standards and Technology mechanical engineer Matthew Staycates and his team write in Nature Scientific Reports that the artificial nose detects up to 16 times more analyzable substances than the vapor detector alone. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.

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Story by Susanne Bard