Scientists developed a drone called Smellicopter that can smell to help people in dangerous situations. Most sensors can not quickly process scents. This drone has a sensor that can promptly process smells to lead teams to accident survivors.
The autonomous drone, Smellicopter, uses a live antenna from the Manduca sexta hawkmoth to navigate toward smells such as chemicals, ethanol, and flowers. It can also bypass obstacles as it travels through the air without GPS.
“The moths do it really efficiently — one scent molecule can trigger lots of cellular responses, and that’s the trick. This process is super efficient, specific and fast.” said Thomas Daniel, UW professor of biology.
Drones like these can create a more efficient way to help people in critical situations that are hard to access. It also saves engineers time when creating new inventions to turn to nature for help rather than building more complex sensors.