Aug 1, 2016
ODOUR SENSITIVE TECHNOLOGY
When we sense a smell, it usually reminds us of something, it can be either a person, a situation, a place, or an object. In fact, a research demonstrates that smell is one of the most active triggers of memories, in comparison with other senses. Scientists have replicated this characteristic in technology, creating what is designated as Electronic Nose, or "E-Nose".
The idea of an electronic nose began in the 1970's. With the popularization of personal computing, it finally became possible to apply pattern recognition techniques to complex measurement data. This means that patterns could be recorded, and later used for comparison. Thus, a sensor was proposed, able to measure data on a multi-dimensional level, and recognize and match it to the previously recorded patterns, in the same way the sense of smell works.
The technology is based on smell recognition patterns, that is, each smell is like a fingerprint of particles. The e-nose is intended to detect the particles in the air, and recognize them as a pattern. As a result, for a substance to be matched to a pattern, it must have been previously recorded, much like when a police-dog smells a cloth, to search for someone or something.
The e-Nose Company, an enterprise based in the Netherlands, aims to develop electronic noses for purposes such as disease diagnosis, or quality control, among others, the first being the priority. In the medical diagnostics area, we find the Aeonose™, a diagnostic unit for exhaled-breath analysis, that can be used for screening on tuberculosis, asthma, throat cancer, and probably several other diseases. The patient exhales into the diagnostic unit, and it will indicate if additional patient examination is required. The Aetholab™ is a diagnostic unit, that analyses the gases produced in the metabolic process of pathogenic bacteria in blood and other body fluids. The research performed demonstrated that many bacteria have specific metabolisms, and based on this metabolic behaviour, it is possible to identify the bacteria.
The company presents a list of their research and prototypes apart from medicine, in which we can find several examples: the monitoring of the filter lifetime in naval applications, which was tested at the Dutch Royal Navy. It is also possible the detection of specific toxic gases, due to the fact that their electronic nose can be easily miniaturized, making personal protection (early warning) possible; the detection of chemical warfare gases, which have specific characteristics that can be successfully detected and identified, with the added feature that the electronic nose can be either a portable personal protection application or fixed at specific spots; detection of other chemicals, such as hydrazine, a chemical used as an emergency fuel (besides other uses) for vehicles such as the F-16, that is extremely toxic, and chemically a look-alike of ammonia - the Company's electronic nose can distinguish one from another; the detection of ethylene at ppm level (parts per million), which is a gas of major importance in the growth of vegetables, fruit, and flower bulbs. Another one of the possibilities is the verification and detection of cabin-air quality, for example by applying multiple units in a single airplane, for a detailed evaluation of the quality of the air, thus allowing for the airplane crew to locate the anomaly, and act accordingly.
The eNose Company
The eNose Company was born as a separate division of an IT-company, founded in 1997 – C-it. The division began working on electronic noses after a request to detect volatiles from paint. This specific application became obsolete due to a change in government regulations, that led the industry to shift to water-based paints.
This was the "boost" C-it needed, so the company decided to continue research and development on electronic noses, and keep searching for new application areas. As an IT company, they were able to develop proprietary technology for manufacturing electronic noses, and what began as a division of C-it, ended up originating the eNose Company, in 2013. Today they create new non-invasive diagnostic technologies greatly reducing the discomfort in patients' lives.
The eNose Company
'Hof van Zutphen'
7202 CA Zutphen - The Netherlands
+31 885 585 266