Duke University researchers work toward an artificial nose to replace K9 dogs

Walk into airport security lines in the United States, and you’ll see K9 dogs sniffing for anything from narcotics to explosives. But what if a robot could do the same thing?

Duke researchers recently published a paper in which they used mouse genes to grow odor receptors that could respond to specific odors. If this could be developed into a device, the electronic nose might be able to detect some of the odors that dogs are searching for—such as cocaine or explosives.

“If you can recreate that neuronal activation pattern in a [device], then you can use that as a tool to do the same job as K9s,” said Hiroaki Matsunami, senior author of the paper and professor of molecular genetics and microbiology.

However, he added that there is still a long way to go in successfully building this device to replace K9s, but his lab has shown that such a device is possible in principle.

Read more…
Source: The Chronicle/Duke University