‘Snot Bot’ Drone Aids Whale Research By Collecting You-Know-What

It’s exactly what it sounds like.

Snot Bot is a drone designed to hover above a whale and collect mucus from its blowhole. What exactly does that accomplish? Iain Kerr, CEO of the Ocean Alliance (one of the drone’s developers, along with the Olin College of Engineering), appeared on HuffPost Live on Thursday to explain the sticky details.

“Believe it or not, exhaled breath condensate, or snot, is just a priceless biological data set,” Kerr told host Alyona Minkovski. “So we fly these drones over the whale, the whales exhale multiple times. And actually, we’re collecting DNA, viruses, bacteria, stress hormones, pregnancy hormones — and, in fact, without the cost of a major expedition.”

Because Snot Bot is non-invasive, Kerr believes scientists will be able to gather more data, more easily thus revolutionizing whale research. Ocean Alliance’s Snot Bot KickStarter has even drawn the attention of Sir Patrick Stewart.

Watch Kerr describe the process of data collection via Snot Bot in the video above.

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