Researchers trying to make a better bomb detector had clearly reached the end of the line by the time they 3D printed a copy of a dog nose and stuck it on the end of a sensor. But the thing that happened next amazed them -- it worked.
It worked so well, in fact, that they say sensitivity was increased by 16 times, thanks to combining the fake dog nose with a system designed to take lots of shorter in/out "sniffs" instead of one long continuous suck in.
The findings were made by a team at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, with NIST's Matthew Staymates, co-author of the paper, explaining: "By mimicking the way a dog sniffs we can improve the performance of commercial trace vapour detection systems. Our findings suggest that the next generation of detection systems may benefit from lessons learned from the canine."
And they boshed together a video, seeing as people on the internet like pet videos:
And all they did was attach the fake nose to a currently available bomb detector, making it a change that's easy to implement. [Guardian]