Researchers at Tel Aviv University used locust antennae and artificial intelligence (AI) to create a robot that can sense scents far more sensitively than current electronic sensors. This robot, known as a "bio-hybrid platform," can distinguish between eight "pure" odors and two odors that are made up of more than one odor. The researchers think that this method could be used in the future to find drugs and explosives.
The robot has a set of desert locust antennae that are linked to an electronic system that detects the amount of electric signal produced by the antennae when they detect a smell. The scientists combined the robot with an algorithm that learned to recognize odors based on the signals it gave out. Because of this, they were able to make a system that can reliably identify smells and has 10,000 times more sensitivity than some specialized electronics.
Researchers think that their robot could be used to find bombs and drugs at airport security checks, find bad food in grocery stores, and find gas leaks in factories. Experts at Tel Aviv University think that this technology could be a huge step forward in the fields of robotics and artificial intelligence, and that it could change the way we recognize and identify smells.