Your Next Smartphone May Be Able to Smell Diseases

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So far, the MWC 2015 has introduced us to new smartphones, tablets and even fingerprint scanners. Now, BoydSense has unveiled a new sensor that can accurately identify smells. In this case, the smell of an orange.

BoydSense says their sensor is the “first multi-bio sensing platform”. The start-up hopes to incorporate their technology into future smartphones to help users make smart health decisions before seeing their doctor.

The sensor can, essentially, smell molecules in the air and identify what the smell is. When the sensor’s sensitive layer comes in contact with molecules, its resistance changes. Different molecules cause different resistance levels, which the software algorithms pick up on.

Sensors with these capabilities aren’t a new concept, but BoydSense’s prototype is small enough to fit in your back pocket. Eventually, the company hopes to reduce the size of their sensor to fit inside of smartphone and other wearable technologies. Over time, the company hopes to make the sensor even more powerful, allowing it to determine whether or not you’re ill based off of your breath.

sniffing technology

BoydSense teamed up with Alpha MOS to create the sensor. While no names have been confirmed, the company has stated that several major phone companies are already interested in BoydSense’s technology.

While the detection of illness is a possibility, it likely won’t be the sensor’s immediate application. But the potential to use this technology for early detection is in the works. It’s possible to detect diabetes simply be measuring the level of acetone in a person’s breath. It can also detect ethanol in the breath, making it a great breathalyzer.

Beyond health and wellness, BoydSense also sees the potential to use the sensor to identify perishing foods and to detect air quality. It’s possible that the sensor could be used by law enforcement as well.

The sensor is still in its development stages, but BoydSense hopes to have its sensor ready for device implementation by 2016.

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