A computer chip with sensors that can detect chemicals associated with certain smells.
Electronic aroma-analyzers have also been used to test the quality of seafood, cheese, meat, coffee, beer, and wine, as well as a “nose on a chip” that sniffs out gas leaks and pollutants.
—Leander Kahney, “Electronic Nose Smells Illness,” Wired, September 29, 1999
Remember that soot sniffers — otherwise known as smoke detectors — have been in mass production for a long time. Technologists like California Institute of Technology Professor Nathan Lewis are using electrical conducting polymers to develop an electronic nose on a chip.
—Stan Davis, “What’s your emotional bandwidth?,” Forbes, July 7, 1997
A Umist nose, made of 20 smell sensors surrounded by electronics, and measuring about 1ft long, recently outperformed a squad of truffle-sniffing pigs and another of truffle-snuffling dogs during trials in France.
The microchip nose would have both the sensors and the electronics integrated in a fingernail-size piece of silicon.
Dr Krishna Persaud, a Umist lecturer in instrumentation, who is leading the team, says Edinburgh university researchers are helping the project. Last month Edinburgh university announced it had developed a video camera on a microchip, paving the way for cheaper videophones, camcorders, electronic cameras and surveillance equipment. Dr Persaud says a nose on a chip may be achieved in two years.
—Nick Nuttall, “Sniffing around for a life-saver,” The Times (London), February 21, 1991