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UC Berkeley's disease-detecting E-Nose

Evan Blass

The last time we checked in on electronic nose technology, hospitals were using the still-boutique devices for very specialized institutional work such as monitoring nasty bacteria outbreaks. Recent breakthroughs by a company called Nanomix, however, could make E-Noses a standard tool in every patient examination room, with UC Berkeley researchers using the company's tech to design cheap devices that can "sniff out" disease-laden molecules in samples a person's breath. Nanomix's "Sensation" detection platform uses multiple, configurable carbon nanotube-based sensors to instantly provide a reading from a puff or air, although the exact diseases that the battery-powered devices will be programmed to detect have not been announced. We do know that the first application of this tech will probably be for carbon dioxide detection, allowing emergency personnel to immediately determine the efficacy of breathing tubes used to stabilize patients on board an ambulance.

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