A Japanese company has created an adorable robot dog that can tell you how bad your feet smell, by using a powerful sensor embedded in its nose. If your feet don’t have bad odor, “Hana-chan” will happily wag its tale, if it detects moderately smelly feet, it will start to bark, and if they really stink, it will just fall over like the smell caused it to faint.
Foot odor is a big deal in Japan, where it is customary for people to take off their shoes whenever they enter someone’s home. In fact, subjecting others to foul bodily odors can even be considered harassment in Japan, so it’s no wonder that some of the most brilliant minds in the country’s tech industry have been dedicating their talent to tackling this issue. Panasonic recently unveiled a high-tech deodorizing coat hanger, Konika Minolta developed a pocket-size device that monitors body odors and alerts the user when they start to smell, and, last year, gadget maker Thanko started selling clip-on armpit fans designed to keep people’s armpits nice and dry. Now, we have Hana-chan, a robot dog capable of telling people if their feet stink.
Hana-chan has been in development at the National Institute of Technology Kitakyushu College, in Kyushu, for at least 2 years, with a YouTube video of the prototype dating back to 2015, and now, their affiliated company, NextTechnology, is ready to launch a commercial version of the feet-smelling robot.
Named after a play on the Japanese word for ‘nose’, the 15-cm robot dog has a special sensor for a nose, and can tell you if your feet smell just by sniffing them for a few seconds. According to some media reports, Hana-chan can help solve the problem of stinky feet by spraying them with air freshener, but it’s unclear whether this feature comes built-in, or if you’ll have to pay extra for it.
The canine robot reacts in three different ways, depending on the smell of the user’s feet. If its sensor detects no foul odors, it wags its tail, if it detect moderately bad odor, it barks in alarm, and if the odor is extremely bad, it just falls over, like it just fainted.
According to researchers at NextTechnology, the idea for Hana-chan was inspired by a person who desperately wanted some way to know if his feet smelled.
“He told us his daughter had said his feet were smelly,” NextTechnology’s Kimika Tsuji said. “But he didn’t want to know how bad the odor was because he would feel hurt. That’s why we developed this cute robot.”
You may be able to make Hana-chan faint with your smelly feet, but it can have the same effect on budget-conscious people. NextTechnology plans to start selling the feet-smelling robot for a whopping ¥100,000 ($9,280).