All the data you can eat
A moth antenna gets connected to a drone

Smellicopter takes to (and tastes) the air

Jason Norwood-Young
Jason Norwood-Young

Forget man-machine hybrids, the latest research brings us the terrifying month-machine, a flying device capable of smelling a scent one part in a trillion. It’s actually pretty simple – freeze an unlucky moth, chop off its antennae, and plug an antenna into a sensor on a drone. Program the thing to hunt out scents, and release it to the breeze. So far it’s good at sniffing out flowers and other moths, such as would interest a living moth, but the researchers at the University of Washington reckon they could genetically engineer the antenna to be sensitive to drugs, or gas leaks, or humans cowering from the invading robots.

Jason Norwood-Young
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