Whales blowing water and snot from their blowholes

Scientists use Snot Bot to collect whale mucus for scientific researchThose crazy scientists over at Olin College of Engineering have developed a robot, affectionately named Snot Bot, that is designed to collect mucus (whale snot) from whales who refuse to blow their noses in huge, conveniently-placed Kleenexes. Unlike whale blubber (thankfully), they don’t want to use the whale snot to make soap, candle wax, or yuk, whale-snot cooking oil. They need the whale snot to tell if the whale is sick or not.

Whale snot is pretty important stuff. Scientists can study the whale mucus from a whale’s blowhole and tell a lot about its health. [Editor note: Reeko said that under no circumstances were we to insert any blowhole jokes here or spout off about how funny “blowhole” sounds]. Until now, it was nearly impossible to collect mucus from the whale’s main breathing passageway (the blowhole, ha ha). Snot Bot will change all that.

Snot Bot is a quadrocopter, a four-bladed helicopter drone, that will fly above the whale’s blowhole and use a sponge mounted to the bottom of the Snot Bot to soak up gobs of icky whale snot. Snot Bot will have a live camera feed to help the scientists maneuver the flying snot-gathering machine above the whale. When the eruption of water and snot blows out of the whale’s blowhole (gesundheit!), Snot Bot will be right in the middle of the action to soak up everything the scientists need to study the whale’s health.

Sources:, Engadget, Boston Globe

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