Meet the E-Nose That Actually Sniffs

  • October 26, 2018
    Trufflebot
    Photo: Amy Simmons/Brown University

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    An electronic nose typically identifies odors by detecting the “fingerprint” of a chemical compound across an array of sensors monitored by pattern-recognition software. E-nose technology is already in use across many industries, including agricultural, environmental, food, manufacturing, and the military.

    Electronic sniffers are also being tested for their ability to detect disease, by sensing blood glucose levels from one’s breath and sniffing out gut disease from samples of poop. Better an electronic nose than a real one, right?

    At Brown University in Rhode Island, electrical engineer Jacob Rosenstein and colleagues are now taking electronic noses a hop, skip, and a boogie closer to the real thing with a device that actually sniffs odors, sucking up vapors in a premeditated pattern through four pathways, and moving those vapors across chemical and mechanical sensors.

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