Do your feet smell bad? Just a little or absolutely awful?
If you don’t dare to ask a friend, one Japanese startup might have the answer with a new robot dog that will sniff your feet and give you a pitilessly honest verdict — even fainting if the stink is especially strong.
Malodorous feet can be socially awkward in Japan where shoes are removed at the entrance to every home.
Hana-chan — a play on hana (nose) and a common girl’s nickname — is a helpful little robot mutt that will bark if she detects moderately stinky toes, but will keel over if they are particularly pungent.
The 15-cm robot, equipped with an odor detection sensor for a nose, also sprays air freshener to resolve the situation if the aroma is unbearable.
Manufacturers Next Technology created the robot in response to a request from a man who was desperate to know if he had a problem.
“He told us his daughter had said his feet were smelly . . . But he didn’t want to know how bad the odor was because he would feel hurt,” employee Kimika Tsuji said.
“That’s why we developed this cute robot.”
Tsuji said smells are becoming more of an issue in Japan, where body odor can even be considered a form of harassment.
In July, Konica Minolta began pre-sales of a pocket-sized device that allows people to self-test three categories of smell on a scale from 0 to 100.
Next Technology plans to start selling the robot dog early next year, with a price tag of more than ¥100,000 ($9,280).