Detection Made Easy with 3D-Printed Dog Nose

Technology imitates nature, as in the case of 3D-printing technology getting inspiration from how dogs sniff and applying those principles in device for detecting explosives. A recent research shows how this can be done.

In a report published in Scientific Reports, a team led by engineer and fluid dynamist Matthew Staymates from the US National Institute of Standards and Technology demonstrate that the artificial dog snout (labrador nose) can be attached to current commercially produced bomb detectors, bringing about a massive – and potentially life-saving – increase in sensitivity. – Read more at:


“The sense of smell in all dogs is their primary doorway to the world around them.” – Robert Crais quotes from

ResearchGate interviewed the research’s prinicipal author, Matthew Staymates. Here’s an excerpt:

ResearchGate: Why does the way a dog smells work so well?

Matthew Staymates: It’s all about what we call sampling. Any chemical detection system can be broken down into two basic components: the sampling component (how you collect the sample) and the analyzer (how you chemically analyze the sample). The way the dog samples for odors is one reason it is an amazing chemical detection system.

RG: How did you apply these principles to the explosives detector?

Staymates: Once we learned how the dog was sampling air during sniffing, we designed and 3D-printed nostril-like features that mimic the sniffing pattern of a real dog.

- Read more of this interview here:

The study shows great potential for commercial use of these principles. Here’s an excerpt of the research’s abstract:

Chemical sampling and detection experiments quantified two modes of operation with the artificial nose-active sniffing and continuous inspiration-and demonstrated an increase in odorant detection by a factor of up to 18 for active sniffing. A 16-fold improvement in detection was demonstrated with a commercially-available explosives detector by applying this bio-inspired design principle and making the device “sniff” like a dog. These lessons learned from the dog may benefit the next-generation of vapor samplers for explosives, narcotics, pathogens, or even cancer, and could inform future bio-inspired designs for optimized sampling of odor plumes. -Read more at:

The nose knows best indeed, and 3D-printing technology is a willing partner.




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