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‘Electronic nose’ could be integrated into smartphones

‘Electronic nose’ could be integrated into smartphones

Research in the US has led to the development of an 'electronic nose' prototype which can detect small quantities of harmful airborne substances.

Nano Engineered Applications completed the prototype based on intellectual property licensed from the University of California. The company says the device has potential applications in agriculture, industrial sites and the military.

"This is a really important step," commented Nosang Myung, a professor at the University of California. "The prototype clearly shows that our research at the university has applications in industry."

The unit is designed to be incorporated into handheld devices, wearable devices and smartphones. Nano Engineered Applications hopes to begin selling the device within a year and is currently focusing on making it smaller and writing related software.

The prototype features a nanosensor array that uses functionalised carbon nanotubes to detect airborne toxins down to the parts per billion level. It also includes a computer chip, usb ports, and temperature and humidity sensors. A second version, due out in 30 days, will integrate a GPS device and a Bluetooth unit to sync it with a smartphone.

Nano Engineered Applications is now looking to collaborate with companies that could bring the production version to market.

Simon Fogg

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