Hana-chan robot dogs smell feet at the Kitakyushu, Japan, city government office. Picture: Japan News-Yomiuri

Kitakyushu, Japan - Worried about having stinky feet? A robot dog named Hana-chan can sniff them and make the call.

The robot dog, developed by start-up Next Technology, can check for foot odour.

Next Technology is based at the National Institute of Technology, Kitakyushu College in Kitakyushu.

It aims to market the 15-centimetre-long stuffed robot next spring at a price tag of between ¥100 000 and ¥200 000 (about R12 000 and R24 000).

Hana-chan has an odour-detection sensor in its nose. The robot reacts in three different ways according to the degree of a detected odour. If the odour is weak, the robot nestles up to you; if the odour is moderate, the robot barks; and if the odour is strong, the robot faints.

Next Technology set the level at which Hana-chan faints using socks that had been worn for two days straight. The company plans to add a deodorant-spraying function to the robot in the future.

Next Technology President Takashi Takimoto, who is also an associate professor at Kitakyushu College, and others visited the Kitakyushu city government office on Sept. 7 to introduce Hana-chan to Mayor Kenji Kitahashi.

Hana-chan sniffed the mayor's feet and nestled up to him.

"It's a great idea for interacting with robots in our daily lives," Kitahashi said.

The Japan News