October 29 2008 / by John Heylin
Category: Gadgets Year: 2010 Rating: 2
Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have developed an electronic nose which not only can sense pre-programmed scents, but also create categories for new scents it finds. “Much like people detect and remember many different smells and use that knowledge to generalize about smells they haven’t encountered before, the electronic nose also needs to be trained to recognize the chemical signatures of different smells before it can deal with unknowns.” The hope is that these devices would be able to warn people of disease, biological attacks, or even aiding in space exploration (yes, searching for other life).
Just imagine the implications a device like this could have on the regular world. A device around your wrist could hum lightly when your body odor got to be too strong. The next time you’re walking around and smell something awful, it could tell you what it is. Uoi could even tell if food in your kitchen has gone bad or not.
But of course with any new technology there are concerns too.
“Body odour can smell pleasant and specific to the individual, and can be used to identify people, though this is more often done by dogs and other animals, than by humans.” (Wikipedia) With the cheap availability of electronic noses, you’re basically giving each officer their own police dog. If you’re detained, they could tell exactly what you’ve been doing, if you’ve been near illegal drugs, even track you to the place you just left.
All in all, pretty cool yet scary stuff.