New Electronic Nose Can Sniff Out Hazardous Airborne Chemical

August 22, 2012, By Sanjeev Ramachandran

A chemical engineer is now making an electronic nose which can sniff and find hazardous airborne particles with ease. After eight years of strenuous research, Nosang Myung at the University of California Riverside has successfully developed a working prototype based on the sensor which can smell a range of airborne chemicals.

The sensor or the electronic nose can be helpful in detecting emergency situations very early, especially in places like mines or industrial sites were hazardous gas leaks often cause mishaps resulting in high death tolls.

It can also be used in case of chemical attack to detect the presence of airborne hazardous chemicals.

The prototype has a computer chip and USB ports. It also packs a temperature and humidity sensor in its first version.

The upgraded version of the prototype with GPS ability is expected to be released in a month’s time. It can sync with a smartphone with the help of Bluetooth.

Myung, during his long research, successfully built the multi-channel nano-sensor array made with the help of carbon nano-tubes. This sensor is the soul of the electronic nose now he is working on.

The sensor can detect the presence of up to eight toxins in air even if they are in very trace amounts down to just parts per billion.

The company, with which Myung is working now, plans to develop the prototype like a credit card so that it can be handheld, or easily integrated into a smartphone.

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