A British designer has invented a robotic armpit complete with hair and a synthetic sweat gland that emit an odour designed to trigger sub-conscious responses in humans.
"I chose the armpit because I was interested in using smell as a communication tool in human-robot interaction," News.com.au quoted Kevin Grennan as saying.
Advertisement"Other researchers have been developing faces, hands etc ... (but) our sense of smell is much more subtle than our other senses and our reactions are sometimes sub-conscious.
Grennan specifically designed the smelly robotic armpit for a bomb disposal robot.
As it goes about its work, the robot literally begins sweating, filling the air with the same kinds of chemicals produced by humans when they're afraid.
The designer said experiments show that such fear triggers have the potential to enhance a human's cognitive performance.
"This robot would enable surrounding humans to work more effectively and to differentiate dangerous situations from false alarms," Grennan explained.
He also has concepts for a picker robot and a surgical robot. The armpit and its unpleasant aromas serve different functions according to the purpose of the robot.
"In the case of the picker robot, (the armpit) releases a chemical called androstadienone, which is found in male sweat," the designer said.
"This has be shown in research to affect mood in females under certain circumstances.
"I have speculated that this robot, when used on a production line, could enhance the performance of female employees in its vicinity," he said.
The third robot is a surgery robot that releases a mist of oxytocin, a chemical found in the human brain.
"This chemical when inhaled nasally has been shown to cause people to become more trusting," Grennan added.