Robotic Dogs Sniff Out Environmental Toxins

Engineers at Yale have developed robotic dogs that can sniff out environmental toxins at contaminated sites. The mechanical critters were originally designed and marketed as toys by Sony and other companies, but an intrepid crew at Yale modified the robo-puppies with sensors that detect environmentally damaging chemical compounds and improved their ability to maneuver across rough terrain. In addition to sniffing out trouble spots on the East Coast, the pups have been put on the trail of radioactive waste and fallout in Idaho, Australia, and Belarus. “These dogs are programmed into instruments for social activism,” said Natalie Jeremijenko, a lecturer in engineering at Yale.