An artificial nose that can tell whether someone is ill from the smell of their breath is being developed by at Strathclyde University in Scotland.
The “Spectral Nose” would use advanced chemistry to detect different odours, and then a computer screen would give the patient an all-clear or indicate which disease they could have.
“Smallpox, liver failure, diabetes – there are a lot of things you can pick up just from the smell of a patient’s breath,” explains Professor Andrew Mills. “Even measles has a characteristic smell.”
The nose would be made up of a series of elements that would change colour or fluorescent intensity depending on the odour detected.
The device could also be used for quality control in the food, drinks and perfume industries and eventually help the police to test suspected drug drivers at the roadside.