Friday, 18 Sep, 2009 Technology

Latest Invention: E-nose That Detects a Smoker


A research team at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, recently presented their latest invention - an e-nose that is able to detect whether a person is a smoker or not. The e-nose features 32 sensors that help it spot the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in an individual's breath in case the person had smoked a cigarette.

The electrical resistance of the sensor alters when different VOCs are identified. Researchers tested their latest invention and the results were promising - the device managed to detect 37 out of 39 people who either smoke or those who don't.

Led by Paul Thomas, the team of researchers concluded that the e-nose could prove to be very useful due to the fact that it easily identifies smokers without the need of blood or urine test. A high level of interest towards this latest invention was shown by insurers that might use the e-nose to test people who apply for health or life insurance.

The device could also prove to be helpful for transplant clinics, due to the fact that it is strictly prohibited for a patient to smoke after a heart transplant. Though it is obvious that smoking after such operation is extremely dangerous, in 2001 about 15 percent of Australians, who received a new heart, continued smoking shortly after the surgery

Still, scientists say that their latest invention should pass a number of additional tests before being officially declared commercially available. A spokesman for the UK Department of Health mentioned that tests on a larger scale are required to prove the e-nose's clinical effectiveness. In addition, the device has to be accepted by patients.

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