Electronic Nose May Replace Police Dogs

By JR Raphael
Contributing Writer, [GAS]

The days of the police dog’s career may be numbered.

Scientists are working on a new breed of electronic noses that could replace the canine cadets, CNN reports. The high-tech sniffers would be able to find even the smallest amounts of explosive substances in places like airports and could eventually be used by the military to detect land mines. A new $1 million grant is helping power the project — which, researchers say, could change the face of scent-tracking crime forever.

“[A dog] takes a lot of training and a person has to be with them all of the time,” researcher Yushan Yan told CNN. ” A dog doesn’t work seven days a week and maybe will get into a bad mood.”

The e-nose will use a super-thin film called zeolite to pick up scents. It’s the same kind of substance used in petroleum refinement. Software will learn to recognize specific patterns to identify scents, much like an animal does.

Apparently, these types of technologies have been under development for some time — companies such as Coca-Cola even use them to do things like analyzing corn syrup — but this would be the first time, the scientists say, the electronics could come close to rivaling the age-old system of the doggie schnoz.

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