Story Tools: PRINT | Text Size: S M L XL | REPORT TYPO | SEND YOUR FEEDBACK

Artificial 'snot' helps electronic nose

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.

The research, published in the journal of Proceedings of the Royal Society A, could be useful for early cancer detection, and improved food inspection.

That's right, fake snot can be useful, and not just gooey. Just in time for allergy season.

« Previous Post | Main | Next Post »

This discussion is now Open. Submit your Comment.

Comments

Clarence Clapsaddle

London

Great breakthrough, but will it stick to the wall at the urinal?

Posted May 1, 2007 11:48 AM

David Shotlander

'Tis truly a great day when scientists invent artificial snot. What marvels will science bring us next? Artificial Kleenex(r), perhaps?

Posted May 2, 2007 10:58 AM

Mick Stewart

No good unless it can roll & flick

Posted May 2, 2007 03:46 PM

J Aberdeem

Canada

I think this is the first time I've ever seen the word "snot" in the title of an article. Had to laugh.

Posted May 3, 2007 05:28 PM

Alon

Toronto

Very interesting. I wonder if this could potentially be used as a treatment for people who've lost their sense of smell.

Posted May 8, 2007 01:13 PM

G Dueck

Canada

They may think it's a great invention, but it'snot.

Posted May 8, 2007 10:56 PM

« Previous Post | Main | Next Post »

Post a Comment

Disclaimer:

Note: By submitting your comments you acknowledge that CBC has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Please note that due to the volume of e-mails we receive, not all comments will be published, and those that are published will not be edited. But all will be carefully read, considered and appreciated.

Note: Due to volume there will be a delay before your comment is processed. Your comment will go through even if you leave this page immediately afterwards.

Privacy Policy | Submissions Policy

Story Tools: PRINT | Text Size: S M L XL | REPORT TYPO | SEND YOUR FEEDBACK

World »

Charles Manson, cult leader and killer, dead at 83
Notorious cult leader Charles Manson, who had been imprisoned in California since being convicted of orchestrating the slayings of actress Sharon Tate and six others in the summer of 1969, has died at age 83.
Zimbabwe's Mugabe has hours to stand down or face impeachment video
Zimbabweans gathered in expectation of a celebration following a highly anticipated resignation speech. Instead, Mugabe appeared to hint at challenging the ruling party, which has expelled him as its leader, by trying to stay on.
Nebraska to announce whether it will approve in-state Keystone XL route video
Nebraska regulators are set to decide Monday whether to approve or deny an in-state route for the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. It's the last major regulatory hurdle facing project operator TransCanada Corp.
more »

Canada »

GO PUBLIC Bell insider reveals high-pressure sales tactics required on every single call
A longtime Bell call centre employee says she is pressured to make a sale on every call, often talking customers into products they don't understand, don't need, and sometimes can't afford
New housing strategy to build 80K affordable rental units for Canadians 'feeling the pinch'
Those struggling to keep a roof over their heads — whether looking to ease the burden of monthly rent payments or in desperate need of help to get off the streets — will find out later this week how the Liberal government hopes to deal with Canada's ever-present shortage of affordable housing.
Former Mexican president warns Trudeau not to be 'Judas' in NAFTA talks video
A former Mexican president has a warning for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau: Don't abandon our country in NAFTA talks like some modern-day "Judas."
more »

Politics »

Afghanistan looks to Canada for more training support
One of the leading figures in Afghanistan’s national government insists his war-torn country must be put back at the forefront of NATO’s efforts to defeat terrorist groups in the Middle East and South Asia.
Ottawa to apologize for persecuting LGBT public servants
Canadians who were criminally charged or fired from the military or Canada's civil service because of their sexual orientation will receive a formal apology from the prime minister before the end of month.
In Maxime Bernier's not-quite-tell-all book, he promises to reveal how he can 'fix' Canada
From Julie Couillard to Stephen Harper to supply management, Maxime Bernier tells CBC News what will and won't be in his forthcoming book.
more »

Health »

Sorry - we can't find that page
 
CBC.ca

Sorry, we can't find the page you requested.

  1. Please check the URL in the address bar, or ...
  2. Use the navigation links at left to explore our site, or ...
  3. Enter a term in the Quick Search box at top, or ...
  4. Visit our site map page

In a few moments, you will be taken to our site map page, which will help you find what you looking for.

more »

Arts & Entertainment»

Jeffrey Tambor doesn't see how he can return to Transparent
Actor Jeffrey Tambor says he doesn't see how he can return to the Amazon series Transparent following two allegations of sexual harassment against him.
Women of colour face different battle in sexual harassment scandal
The dozens of women accusing Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault and harassment have sparked a landslide of revelations and yet, minority voices are still largely absent from this growing movement.
Cosby Show actor Earle Hyman dead at 91
Earle Hyman, a veteran actor of stage and screen who was widely known for playing Russell Huxtable on The Cosby Show, has died.
more »

Technology & Science »

Blog Science imitates nature to improve solar cells
To make the surface of solar cells less reflective, and therefore absorb more light, scientists turned to a black butterfly for inspiration.
Truckers take cautious approach to all-electric vehicles video
All-electric trucks have the potential for cost savings for fleet operators, particularly if maintenance costs prove to be lower than diesel, but there are still some significant barriers to their adoption, according to trucking industry veterans.
Six Nations school launches app that teaches people to speak Mohawk
A Six Nations school is doing its part to keep Indigenous languages alive in the most modern of ways — with an app.
more »

Money »

GO PUBLIC Bell insider reveals high-pressure sales tactics required on every single call
A longtime Bell call centre employee says she is pressured to make a sale on every call, often talking customers into products they don't understand, don't need, and sometimes can't afford
Nebraska to announce whether it will approve in-state Keystone XL route video
Nebraska regulators are set to decide Monday whether to approve or deny an in-state route for the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. It's the last major regulatory hurdle facing project operator TransCanada Corp.
Truckers take cautious approach to all-electric vehicles video
All-electric trucks have the potential for cost savings for fleet operators, particularly if maintenance costs prove to be lower than diesel, but there are still some significant barriers to their adoption, according to trucking industry veterans.
more »

Consumer Life »

Sorry - we can't find that page
 
CBC.ca

Sorry, we can't find the page you requested.

  1. Please check the URL in the address bar, or ...
  2. Use the navigation links at left to explore our site, or ...
  3. Enter a term in the Quick Search box at top, or ...
  4. Visit our site map page

In a few moments, you will be taken to our site map page, which will help you find what you looking for.

more »

Sports »

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Argos complete remarkable rebuild after last-place finish in East a year ago video
Argonauts coach Marc Trestman and general manager Jim Popp the general manager orchestrated one of the more impressive turnarounds in CFL history.
Recap Stampeders to meet Argos in Grey Cup after edging Eskimos
The Stampeders advanced to the CFL championship game for a second straight year Sunday when they downed the visiting Edmonton Eskimos 32-28 in the West Division final.
'Podium or bust': Canadian bobsledders ready to get risky video
A challenging season behind them, Canada's Justin Kripps and Jesse Lumsden plan to go all out in pursuit of an Olympic bobsleigh medal in Pyeongchang.
more »

Diversions »

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
more »