Sniffer dogs have been around for many years now…
As you know dogs have always been trained and used by the police to search and find for drugs and explosives, generally en places like airports. These days the use of dogs to achieve this task is being discussed.
Since the dogs have a very sensitive sense of smell, they were often used to detect decomposing bodies to illegal drugs, such smells that sometimes can’t be sensed by human.
Dogs are vital for these things, they can detect up to 10 different substances. Scientists think that dogs may not be the best for this kind of job, since like humans they need resting, they get bored, and maybe it’s better to find a way to do this substance recognition with some other tool. Grattan’s team is working on a robot with an artificial sense of smell that could replace sniffer dogs from that kind of work.
Besides of the dog, every sniffer has to have a person by its side handling him, so that’s an extra cost of one person besides the dog. So if this can be automatized it would be a great advantage, because you could run the robot 24 hours a day and it wouldn’t get tired.