It has long been known that cats and dogs, with their unique sense of smell, are able to identify volatile chemicals (odors) emitted by humans during illness. Through special training, some pets have been able to detect cancer and even predict epileptic seizures.
Dr. Andrew Coel and his colleagues from the University of Cambridge (UK) decided to electronically recreate the sensitive canine or cat nose, which is called the "digital nose". In terms of its size, it is commensurate with a small coin and is a spectrometer on a crystal microchip.
His work is based on the creation of a spectrum of chemical compounds found in the ambient air. A configured and calibrated sensor will not ignore any odor and, in the event of danger, will "signal an alarm". To understand the sensitivity level of this device, imagine that it picks up a scent equivalent to a drop of water in an Olympic pool.
In addition to doctors, oil producers and representatives of the food industry - BP, Shell, Coca-Cola and Nestle - are already interested in the sensor. It is possible that it can become part of new household appliances that determine the degree of freshness of food in the refrigerator and readiness during cooking. The creators plan to display all the information from the unique sensor on the displays of smartphones.