A Diagnostic Sniff: Electronic Nose to Analyze Breath and Find Disease

By Sputnik News

A literally breathtaking device which can diagnose diseases by merely “sniffing” a person’s breath is being developed by Dallas researchers.

Bad breath is not only embarrassing and uncomfortable for surrounding people — it may also be a sign of health problems. Over the last decade, “electronic sensing” technologies have undergone important developments; however, the gadgets that exist today are bulky and expensive.

A team of engineers at the University of Texas decided to create a cheap and portable electronic nose that could be used in breath analysis to diagnose a wide range of health conditions. The researchers, led by Dr. Navneet Sharma, an Indian scientist, believe that CMOS integrated circuits, which make tablets and mobile phones affordable, could do the same job for e-noses.


“Smell is one of the senses of humans and animals, and there have been many efforts to build an electronic nose,” said Dr. Sharma.

“When you smell something, you are detecting chemical molecules in the air. Similarly, an electronic nose detects chemical compounds using rotational spectroscopy,” he explained.

A person’s breath contains gases from the stomach and lungs, along with molecules that emerge from blood when it comes into contact with air in the lungs. That means a breath can deliver information about practically every part of the body.

“What we are talking about here is developing a device that imitates another one of our sensing modalities and making it affordable and widely available,” said Dr. Kenneth O, Director of the Texas Analog Center of Excellence at the University of Texas, one of the principal investigators on the project.

The researchers are now working toward the construction of a prototype programmable electronic nose that can be made available for beta testing sometime in early 2018.


Original article

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