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.
Source: The Chronicle/Duke University