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Pheromone / Plume Tracking

The way insects and animals are able to track plumes and pheromones has far reaching implications on the survival of crops, the balance of the species and ultimately humanity. Tracking and understanding how these dynamic stimuli behave requires sensitive instruments with high temporal resolution. Aurora Scientific has designed specialized instruments specifically for plume tracking research.

The Ability of Insects and Other Organisms to Track Chemical Stimuli

odor plume tracking, insect flight behaviour, pheromone trails, robotic plume tracking, source location, plume release

200B: Pheromone & Plume Tracking

200B: Pheromone & Plume Tracking

The fastest gas sensor on the market that can accurately monitor and quantify the concentration of an input gas or vapour in real time.

Odor Production Products

220A: Olfactometer

220A: Olfactometer

Olfactometer that provides reliable odor generation for demanding olfaction experiments

Plume Release Products

Various disseminators are available for wind tunnel and outdoor experiments. These include simple manual disseminators to remote-controlled systems complete with flow measurement. Please contact us for further information.

Not Available

200B – Modeling Insect Pheromone Tracking


In 2008 Dr. Willis from Case Western Reserve University wanted to use mobile wheeled robots to serve as hardware models to test hypotheses on how insects control their tracking behavior. He had done work with small 2D robots in the wind tunnel but now wanted to move to the unpredictable real world environments outdoors. For this work he required two fast response gas sensors that were small enough to mount on the robot. The sensors also had to be battery operated as the robot would not be tethered.


Aurora Scientific’s R&D team knew that the miniPID sensor head met most of Dr. Willis’s requirements but the controller was too large, too heavy and required AC power. A new battery-powered controller was designed that was small and light enough to be deployed on the robot. The new controller was powered by two NiMH batteries, which provided about 2 hours of continuous operation. Changes were also made to the sensor to allow it to be easily mounted to the robot. This involved removing the long mounting rod, removing the sensor connector and replacing it with a short length of wires that plugged directly into the controllers. The cover on the side of the sensor head was also modified to provide a simple clamp mechanism for holding the sensor onto the robot.


Two sensors were built and supplied to Dr. Willis. Our modifications allowed them to be securely mounted on the robot and preliminary tests were conducted. In 2014 Dr. Willis reported that the battery-powered controllers were failing and asked for them to be repaired. We took this opportunity to redesign and repackage the controllers and to also redesign the battery packs. We supplied him with two instruments of the new design. The new design uses lithium-ion batteries, which are smaller, lighter and last about twice as long, which provided Dr. Willis with reliable and portable equipment to model insect pheromone tracking in real world environments. In addition, the new design is now available as the model 201A portable miniPID.