Scientists have already developed robotic noses that can sniff for bombs and air pollution, but they haven’t been able to figure out how to get robots to identify more complicated scents.
Now, researchers think that synthetic snot could be the solution. In humans, one of the ways the brains identifies smells is by how long a molecule takes to dissolve in the nose’s mucus. The scientists think that robotic noses could do the same thing using synthetic mucus.
Early tests have shown that the synthetic stuff makes robotic noses five times more sensitive.