Japanese robots make a stink about bad breath, body odor
June 17, 2013
Have you got a case of dog breath? How about smelly feet? Friends and family may not tell you, but a couple of new robots will. Built by the Kitakyushu National College of Technology and a group of inventive pranksters calling itself CrazyLabo, the pair of odor-detecting robots are giving people a lesson in hygiene and a few chuckles.
Kaori-chan, a decapitated mannequin head that sits atop a pink box, is the one that smells your breath. Simply blow into her face and don't expect her to spare your feelings if you could use a mint or two. Responses range from the blunt, “Yuck, you have bad breath!” to an embarrassing, “Emergency! There's an emergency taking place! That’s beyond the limit of patience!”
The foot-sniffing dog, Shuntaro-kun, is a bit less eloquent but just as clear with his responses. He'll cuddle up to you if you smell ok, but if you stink he'll bark, fall down and growl, or play dead. Both robots get their sense of smell from a commercially available odor sensor and grade your aroma on a four point scale.
The idea came when CrazyLabo president Kennosuke Tsutsumi visited the Tohoku region, which was hit by the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami on March 11th, 2011. Wanting to create something that could cheer people up, he collaborated with a team at the Kitakyushu National College of Technology to collect odor samples and program the robots. Ten students wore the same pair of socks for two days, and ate foods with stinky ingredients like garlic, to iron out the robots' four point scale.
Now the group is planning on touring the quake-affected areas with the robots, and may lease or exhibit them to the public. “I want to continue to produce things that make people laugh and create a good atmosphere,” Tsutsumi said. You can see a video of the robots doing their thing via the Asahi Shimbun source link below.