Will Police Dogs Be Replaced By Robots To Help Solve Crimes?

Professor Maiken Ueland is part of a team developing new technology to determine smells from bodies and track them, similar to police dogs.

“We’ve developed an electronic nose that we’re trying to get as good as the dogs,” Maiken said on a recent episode of the Crime Insiders podcast:

“The dogs are really, really fantastic at what they do, but they’re quite costly and unfortunately, they cannot tell us exactly what it is they’re doing or what they’re scenting.”

The team is also looking to develop portable technology in the future (like drones) that can search for a body.

How can robots detect smells?

“With the air we also draw the scent compounds and then the scent compounds will stick to the tube and we’ll take it back to the lab to analyse it,” she said.

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For example, to find the smells from a cake, you’d place it into the hood and the technology would draw out flour, sugar, eggs. Maiken explains:

How can the technology find a corpse?

The robotic nose can be programmed to look for a particular compound, like methanol on a body or even soil that has a body buried underneath.

Once the chemical smell is captured, it can be used to train police dogs but could also train a robot.

Hear the full conversation on robot noses on this episode of Crime Insiders: