Bomb-sniffing dogs are used by federal agencies to identify explosives, drugs, etc. at the airports as well as at other checkpoints. Scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NSIT) did a research on how much role the shape of the dogs’ noses played, in their sniffing skills. The thought came in their mind as dogs are precision sniffers and they can smell the odors from a long distance. For their research, they started with 3D printing artificial noses which were anatomically correct. The noses were modeled after a female Labrador.
3D Printed Bomb-Sniffer Noses
The artificial noses that have been 3D printed eject strong jets of air away from the nostrils, just like real dogs do when they exhale. According to Matthew Staymates, NIST scientist, these airjets help pulling in new smelly air even from a great distance. In one second, the process is replicated up to 5 times. As per senior scientist at Auburn University’s Canine Detection Research Institute, Paul Waggoner, dog noses have around 50 times more olfactory receptors as compared to humans. A huge part of the dogs’ brains are dedicated to process the data. With this characteristic and the quick sniffs, dogs will be able to easily detect the explosives or any other suspicious materials.
The Printer in Use
The 3D printed noses were created using a new 3D printer, worth $228,977. The printer in use is the Connex 500 from Stratasys. The printer can print many substances into a single object. This will help designers identify the soft and hard parts of the 3D printed model of the dog’s nose. NIST initially ordered a Connex 350, but Stratasys provided an upgrade to Connex 500 and that too at no additional cost.
Right now, the printed noses are not used at the security checkpoints. According to Staymates, the noses are working as a research tool which is being used in a larger research program. With the findings obtained from the scientists, improved vapor sampling devices can be created in the future.
What do you think?
Do you think these 3D printed noses can be used in the future for improving security? What other applications of 3D printing do you like? Share your views in the comments below.
Image Source – defenseone.com