Robots: Odor Source Localization

Posted 2 Feb 2011 at 18:43 UTC by mwaibel Share This

The January 28th episode of the Robots Podcast introduces two researchers in the field of robotic olfaction, or investing robots with a sense of smell. Here is my colleague John Payne's summary: Hiroshi Ishida is an Associate Professor at Tokyo University of Agriculture & Technology. In the past eighteen years he has developed robots with olfactory sensors that operate in aerial, terrestrial, and aquatic environments. In the interview Ishida talks about the development of the Active Stereo Nose, a differential gas sampling system inspired by the dog's nose (see image above) and the Crayfish robot that mimics the mechanism used by crayfish in nature to create unidirectional water currents. The second interviewee is Thomas Lochmatter from the Distributed Intelligent Systems and Algorithms Laboratory at EPFL. He emphasizes the importance of sensing airflow (wind) in locating the source of an odor or chemical contaminant, describes two general types of algorithms for accomplishing this task, and discusses how the use of multiple robots fares under each regime. Finally, he discusses real world applications. For more information have a look at the Robots website or directly tune in!

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