Why it matters to you
If you suspect your feet smell funky but aren’t too sure, Hana-chan can help.
If you think you have stinky feet but aren’t quite sure, there’s now a guaranteed way to find out without having to endure the awkwardness of shoving your toes in the face of a partner or close friend for confirmation.
Help comes in the form of Hana-chan, a new Japan-made robot puppy that happily gives your feet a good sniff and faints on the spot if they smell real bad. In a country where communication can often be less than direct, this surprisingly unambiguous response will leave you in little doubt that your socks need changing or your feet need washing. Or possibly both.
The furry foot-smelling robot is the work of Next Technology, a Japanese company that clearly considers issues of odor as a top priority. Indeed, if Hana-chan is going to succeed anywhere, it’ll be in Japan, a country where you’re expected to remove your shoes whenever you enter a home. If you take them off and your feet reek worse than an abandoned cheese shop, things could get a little awkward for everyone in the room. So why not get a robot dog to check your feet before you arrive?
In the video above, we see Hana-chan reacting to various odors on a cloth. Using built-in sensors to get a really good whiff, the robot dog is clearly delighted with the first sample, running on the spot with her tail pointing up. The accompanying text reads, “Lovely smell!”
The second sample, however, is anything but. A few seconds of this one appear to leave Hana-chan in a state of shock, causing her to faint in horror at the sheer unpleasantness of the odor. According to the Japan Times, if the smell is bad but not outright awful, Hana-chan will simply bark, warning the owner that the odor may be on the way to becoming something really rather unpleasant.
Hana-chan is set to go on sale in Japan early next year, but at 100,000 yen ($900), the foot-smelling mutt will cost an arm and a leg if you decide it’s for you.
Less cuddly but maybe just as effective is another body-odor detection product out of Japan that’s set to hit stores in the coming months: the Kikun Body. The device, which attaches to your body, sends alerts to your smartphone if you start to pong so badly that it may be causing distress to those around you.