Remember how Hansel and Gretel followed a trail of bread crumbs back home? Australian scientists have engineered an industrial robot that spits out camphor, which it can later detect and follow. The robot, developed by researchers at Griffith University in Brisbane and Monash University in Clayton, Victoria, can either follow the camphor path to its base or use it to skip an area it has already covered, making it more efficient and flexible (New Scientist, Vol 140, No 1901).
Sniffing robots could herald a whole range of new robotic applications, from cleaning up houses to smelling out dangerous chemical leaks.
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