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'Electronic nose' Sniffs out Toxic Substances

Monday, 27 August 2012 12:05 AM

Scientists have created an "electronic nose" that can sniff out toxic and harmful substances, including pesticides, gas leaks, biochemicals and even chemical weapons.

The device, developed by Nano Engineered Applications Inc. based on research out of the University of California-Riverside, has broad to applications for agriculture, industry, homeland security and the military.

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

Myung said the device can be used to detect pesticide levels, gas leaks, combustion emissions, bio-terrorism agents, and the chemical weapons.

Steve Abbott, president of Nano Engineered, said the company expects to begin selling the product within a year.

The current prototype is about four inches by seven inches. The goal is to make it the size of a credit card, with the ability to detect up to eight toxins. A single-toxin sensor device could be the size of a fingernail.

The unit is designed to be incorporated in three basic platforms: a handheld device, a wearable device and in a smartphone, all with different applications.

For example, a handheld unit could be used for environmental monitoring, such as a gas spill. A wearable unit could be used for an asthma study for which researchers want to monitor air quality. A smartphone unit couldn't detect a potentially harmful airborne agent.

© HealthDay

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Scientists have created a device that detects toxic and harmful substances.
Monday, 27 August 2012 12:05 AM
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