Artificial 'snot' helps electronic nose
- April 30, 2007 11:28 AM |
- By Paul Jay
by Paul Jay, CBC News online
Scientists have fashioned artificial nasal mucus to enhance the performance of electronic noses.
Researchers at The University of Warwick and Leicester University coated the sensors used by odour sensing electronic noses with artificial 'snot' made from a mix of polymers and found it greatly improved their performance.
As they explain:
In the natural nose the thin layer of mucus dissolves scents and separates out different odour molecules in a way [that causes them to] arrive at the nose's receptors at different speeds/times. Humans are then able to use this information on the differences in time taken to reach different nose receptors to pick apart a diverse range of smells.
A natural nose uses over 100 million specialized receptors or sensors which act together in complex ways to identify and tell apart the molecules they encounter. Electronic noses, used in a number of commercial settings including quality control in the food industry, use the same method but often have less than 50 sensors. This means that electronic noses can discern a much smaller range of smells than the natural nose.
The researchers mimicked the human process with a 10-micron-thick layer of a polymer normally used to separate gases on the sensors.
All News blogs
- Universe hates Higgs boson, Chicago Cubs
- By John Bowman, CBCNews. A physicist working on the Large Hadron Collider doesn't think much of the theory that the universe is sabotaging the project to prevent the discovery of the Higgs boson. Might as well say that Nature hates... Continue reading this post
- Large Hadron Collider goes Back to the Future
- By Peter Evans, CBCNews.ca. Two respected physicists have put forward the theory that the Large Hadron Collider's stated aim of finding the Higgs boson might be so abhorrent to nature that mysterious forces are traveling back through time and sabotaging... Continue reading this post
- Multi-touch concept for desktops: 10/GUI
- By John Bowman, CBCNews.ca. I'm a fan of alternative ideas for human-computer interaction, so this video caught my attention. It shows an idea for a ten-finger touchpad interface and associated changes in the way a computer would handle multiple windows.... Continue reading this post