AsianScientist (Jul. 3, 2018) – A research group in Japan has developed a highly sensitive odor sensor and integrated it with a robot, creating a system that can detect scents like a bloodhound. Their research is published in the journal ACS Sensors.
Over the past two decades, researchers have tried to develop robots that rival the olfactory system of bloodhounds, which are famous for their ability to track scents over great distances. However, most robots can only detect airborne odors, or are painstakingly slow at performing analyses.
In this study, researchers at Kyushu University, Japan, have developed a robot that can rapidly detect odors from sources on the ground, such as footprints. The researchers based their odor sensor on a technique called localized surface plasmon resonance that measures changes in light absorption by gold nanoparticles upon exposure to a gas.
As the robot traveled across a surface, a tube placed close to the ground suctioned odors into the LSPR sensor. The researchers showed that the sensor could accurately detect the location of ethanol odor sources placed at different positions along the robot’s path, at a travel speed of ten centimeters per second (about four inches per second).
In addition, the robot could read the word ‘ODOR’ in binary barcode deposited on the ground as a series of ethanol marks at different positions. The researchers expect that their technology will be useful for security robots or in multi-robot communication systems.
Source: American Chemical Society; Photo: Pixabay.
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