3D Printed Dog Nose Improves Detection of Explosives Source


So whether you’re an artist or
an author, or even a scientist, chances are you have been inspired
by nature at some point in time. [MUSIC] So here at NIST, we turn to our
K9 companions for inspiration and help with our research. We are interested in making
today’s chemical detector’s better at detecting explosives, narcotics,
other contraband material. After all, the K9 is one of
nature’s best chemical detectors. [MUSIC] So here’s what’s amazing about the dog and
how they smell. A lot of it has to do with the geometry
of the nose and the way that they exhale. See, when they exhale, they kind of go
down and backwards, and by doing that, they are literally reaching out and
pulling new air towards them. It’s called fluid entrainment and here, I can show you what it
looks like in the lab. [MUSIC] So back here in the lab at NIST,
we are using 3D printers to create anatomically correct
artificial dog’s noses. And in fact, we have a system that makes
the dog’s nose sniff like a real dog. In this case,
it is a female Labrador retriever, we can put this artificial dog’s nose into
what’s called a Schlieren Optical System. This is a system that allows us to
visualize how air is moving in and around an environment. So if I draw your attention to the screen,
as the dog is sniffing, this sniffing acetone vapor here, there’s
an exhale down to the right of the screen. When the dog exhales, he’s literally
reaching out and entraining or pulling air towards themselves, and
sometimes from very impressive distances. So, now that we know what the dog does,
this is actually one piece of the puzzle for why the dog is this
amazing chemical detector. What’s the point of all this? The point of this is, what we call,
biomimicry, it’s taking what we learned, what nature already does, and applying it, integrating it into
technology that we’re trying to improve. So what we’ve done, I’ve taken several
commercially available vapor detectors. These are sniffers and we’ve incorporated
what are essentially nostrils that make these system, this commercial
systems sniff like a real dog. And the improvements that we’ve
seen are fairly dramatic, sometimes by a factor of 18. The lessons learned from the dog here, we
hope that will feed into the development of the next generation of this technology,
for detecting explosives, narcotics, chembio pathogens,
possibly even cancer. [MUSIC]

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5 Responses

  1. National Institute of Standards and Technology says:

    Thanks for checking out our videos. Please add your comments and let us know what you think. We will be reviewing and then posting comments as long as they are on topic, respectful and do not promote specific products or service.

  2. Alexander Riccio says:

    As scientists, please don't call them "narcotics", it's silly!

  3. erikals says:

    inspiring! 🙂
    hope to see you hit the "cancer detection" goal   🙂

  4. Jonathan Long says:

    I really don't understand the role of the 3D dog nose in this, can someone explain? If the detector is programmed to sniff and exhale like a dog, what additional role is the nostril shaped mould performing?

  5. High-functional Autistic Woman says:

    can you make a tool to put on our nose, that makes us human to smell just as good as dog can (with forexample magnetic pulses that stimulates the reseptor between our eyes, and doubles our septors power multlipse times,)?

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