A university in Israel developed a new technology that made it possible for a robot to smell using a biological sensor, according to study results published on Tuesday.
The researchers at Tel Aviv University connected the sensor to an electronic system to identify odors with a level of sensitivity that is 10,000 times higher than that of existing electronic devices.
“The sensor sends electrical signals as a response to the presence of a nearby odor, which the robot can detect and interpret … The researchers believe that in light of the success of their research, this technology may also be used in the future to identify explosives, drugs, diseases, and more,” the university’s press statement said.
Dr. Ben Maoz of the Fleischman Faculty of Engineering and Prof. Amir Ayali of the School of Zoology and the Sagol School of Neuroscience, who led the study, explained that smell perception is one of the areas where technologies have been falling behind.
“An example of this can be found at the airport where we go through a magnetometer that costs millions of dollars and can detect if we are carrying any metal devices."
"But when they want to check if a passenger is smuggling drugs, they bring in a dog to sniff him,” they said, adding that a mosquito is capable of detecting a “0.01 percent difference in the level of carbon dioxide in the air.”
The researchers also noted that some animals can detect diseases, while others even sense earthquakes. In their future work, Israeli scientists plan to provide the robot with a navigation ability, which would allow it to localize the odor source and its identity.
Reprinted with permission from i24NEWS