Dog nose inspires better explosives ‘sniffer’

  • TECH
  • Friday, 02 Dec 2016

TO GO WITH AFP STORY (FILES) This file photo taken on May 25, 2016 shows Brazilian policeman of the BAC (Brigade of canine action) special unit training a dog for the research of explosives at the Tom Jobim international airport in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Struck by the legendary sniffing skills of man's best friend, scientists in the United States fitted a dog-inspired plastic nose to an explosives detector, and reported on December 1, 2016 it worked much better. / AFP PHOTO / CHRISTOPHE SIMON

PARIS: Struck by the legendary sniffing skills of man’s best friend, scientists in the United States fitted a dog-inspired plastic nose to an explosives detector, and reported it worked much better. 

With the prosthetic nose, and programmed to take multiple “sniffs” of the air rather a single, long suction, the machine was 16 times more sensitive in detecting molecules in the air, the team reported in the journal Scientific Reports. 

”By mimicking the way a dog sniffs, we can improve the performance of commercial trace vapour detection systems,” study co-author Matthew Staymates of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, told AFP. 

”Our findings suggest that the next generation of... detection systems may benefit from lessons learned from the canine.” 

This may improve detection of anything from explosives, narcotics, disease-causing pathogens, perhaps even cancer. 


Staymates and a team read up on the workings of the canine “nose” when the dog is sniffing. The organ exhales and inhales about five times per second to collect odours, which are then analysed by some 300 million receptor cells. 

The team then used a 3D printer to create the outer shell of a plastic “nose” fashioned after the snout of a Labrador retriever. 

The prosthesis was fitted to a commercially-available explosives detector, which was also reprogrammed to inhale and exhale in quick succession, sniffing in essence, rather than non-stop suction. 

With the alterations, the machine was 16 times better at detecting odours from a distance of four centimetres (1.6 inches), the team observed. 

Though it seemed “counterintuitive,” breathing out during sniffing actually drew odour-laden air towards the nostrils, the researchers found. 

Dogs are widely used in explosives and drug detection, search and rescue operations and more recently also in cancer diagnosis. — AFP

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 1
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3

Next In Tech News

Paws for thought: Cybersecurity warning over pet-based passwords
Chinese robot cars set the record for longest driverless distance
Find my bike: Apple opens up its tracking app for everyday objects
Google and Apple to stage online Android and iOS summits in May, June
LG�phones are no more. Will you miss them? More than you might think
S.Korean battery makers agree $1.8 billion settlement, aiding Biden's EV push
Messenger chats bring people closer than video chat, study finds
Wave of phishing emails feared after massive Facebook leak uncovered
Stifel CEO says life after Covid-19 means a return to the office
Need more bass?�Tweak the sound of your headphones with an EQ�app

Stories You'll Enjoy