Friday, July 15, 2016

Everybody Wants Explosive Sniffing Robots

image source

BBC News, July 2016

On the heels of another mention in the news of remote control insectobots, we see a trend in artificial olfaction: explosives sniffing robots. If there's one thing a robo-nose is good for, it's detecting dangerous things in our environment. After all, this is a major purpose of olfaction. Actually, this time they aren’t robot noses, they’re regular animals, but they’ve been genetically engineered to have special olfactory appendages, or to be more specific, they’ve been engineered to smell one thing really well.

Furthermore, and a point made in the article, humans can become super sniffers for any smell as long as we’re trained to do it. I inadvertently made myself super sensitive to mold after living in a basement apartment for seven years, after said apartment was completely covered waist high in dripping penicillium colonies, and I can now smell it in amounts way below what normal people require.

*In fact, I’ll say this here – mold is everywhere and I know because I smell it everywhere. Not the killer kind, just the regular everyday mold-on-your bread kind. We already know it’s everywhere, just like yeast is floating around us right now, no matter where we are. But it comes in all different kinds, old mold, new mold, wet mold, dry mold. Every building I go into I smell it somewhere, on certain days it’s growing on trees and floating past your face, on certain people it’s pumping out of the holes in their clothes, coming off of their hair or the dark parts of their bodies, or the crevices of their cottonsuits; it’s everywhere. In fact, last night I went to an outdoor bar/patio for drink;, it’s been raining on and off for the past few days, and I could not get away from it – the smell of mold, that is – I suspect it was coming from underneath the outdoor patio, which has a tendency to be wet and dark, but later that night after I got home I was bothered by a mold I don’t get every day – metal mold – not sure what this is but I know what it smells like; I must have had my hand resting on their (moldy metal) patio furniture all night I had to wash my hands a few times before going to sleep. Anyway, I'm for hire. Although, it seems like my job is being taken over by robots and genetically engineered animals

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