New! Sign up for our free email newsletter.
Science News
from research organizations

Four-legged, dog-like robot 'sniffs' hazardous gases in inaccessible environments

Date:
June 10, 2024
Source:
American Chemical Society
Summary:
Nightmare material or truly man's best friend? A team of researchers equipped a dog-like quadruped robot with a mechanized arm that takes air samples from potentially treacherous situations, such as an abandoned building or fire. The robot dog walks samples to a person who screens them for potentially hazardous compounds.
Share:
FULL STORY

Nightmare material or truly man's best friend? A team of researchers equipped a dog-like quadruped robot with a mechanized arm that takes air samples from potentially treacherous situations, such as an abandoned building or fire. The robot dog walks samples to a person who screens them for potentially hazardous compounds, says the team that published its study in ACS' Analytical Chemistry. While the system needs further refinement, demonstrations show its potential value in dangerous conditions.

Testing the air for dangerous chemicals in risky workplaces or after an accident, such as a fire, is an important but very dangerous task for scientists and technicians. To keep humans out of harm's way, Bin Hu and colleagues are developing mobile detection systems for hazardous gases and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) by building remote-controlled sampling devices like aerial drones and tiny remotely operated ships. The team's latest entry into this mechanical menagerie is a dog-like robot with an articulated testing arm mounted on its back. The independently controlled arm is loaded with three needle trap devices (NTDs) that can collect air samples at any point during the robot's terrestrial mission.

The researchers test-drove their four-legged "lab" through a variety of inaccessible environments, including a garbage disposal plant, sewer system, gasoline fireground and chemical warehouse, to sample the air for hazardous VOCs. While the robot had trouble navigating effectively in rainy and snowy weather, it collected air samples and returned them to the portable mass spectrometer (MS) for onsite analysis in less time than it would take to transfer the samples to an off-site laboratory -- and without putting a technician in a dangerous environment. The researchers say the robot-MS system represents a "smart" and safer approach for detecting potentially harmful compounds.

The authors acknowledge funding from the Guangzhou Science and Technology Program and the National Natural Science Foundation of China.


Story Source:

Materials provided by American Chemical Society. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Ximeng Liu, Qiaoyun Huang, Jiewei Deng, Xuan Liu, Bin Hu. Portable Mass Spectrometry for On-site Detection of Hazardous Volatile Organic Compounds via Robotic Extractive Sampling. Analytical Chemistry, 2024; DOI: 10.1021/acs.analchem.4c01555

Cite This Page:

American Chemical Society. "Four-legged, dog-like robot 'sniffs' hazardous gases in inaccessible environments." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 June 2024. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2024/06/240610170938.htm>.
American Chemical Society. (2024, June 10). Four-legged, dog-like robot 'sniffs' hazardous gases in inaccessible environments. ScienceDaily. Retrieved June 19, 2024 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2024/06/240610170938.htm
American Chemical Society. "Four-legged, dog-like robot 'sniffs' hazardous gases in inaccessible environments." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2024/06/240610170938.htm (accessed June 19, 2024).

Explore More

from ScienceDaily

RELATED STORIES