December 7, 2016
By mimicking how dogs use their smelling abilities, a team of government and university researchers have demonstrated “active sniffing” as a means to improve the performance of current technologies that rely on continuous suction to detect trace amounts of explosives and other contraband.
Matthew Staymates, a mechanical engineer and fluid dynamicist at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) of the US Department of Commerce: “The dog is an active aerodynamic sampling system that literally reaches out and grabs odorants. It uses fluid dynamics and entrainment to increase its aerodynamic reach to sample vapors at increasingly large distances. Applying this bio-inspired design principle could lead to significantly improved vapor samplers for detecting explosives, narcotics, pathogens—even cancer.”