March 19, 2008 | David F. Coppedge

Electronic Nose Can’t Outsniff Yours

Electronic nose makers are smelling your dust, said Science Daily.  “Despite 25 years of research, development of an ‘electronic nose’ even approaching the capabilities of the human sniffer remains a dream,” the article said.
    Biological noses are great at discriminating between volatile compounds.  We can immediately sense things that are fruity, grassy, and earthy, for instance.  Electronic noses are good for detecting particular compounds like carbon monoxide, but have a hard time doing what the human nose does easily: picking out the signatures of thousands of odors.
    The future doesn’t look any brighter for nose engineers: “Keeping its limitations in mind and adapted for a special purpose, this will be the future for the electronic nose for as long as the ability to smell odors rather than detect volatiles is still far away over the rainbow.

Maybe they need a code in their nose (06/27/2005, 11/07/2001).  Think of it: your lowly schnotz, the mountain on your map, is a peak that geeks cannot conquer.  Take time to smell the flowers as spring approaches.  There’s one thing your iPhone can’t do.  How do I know?  iNose.  I just nose.

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Categories: Biomimetics, Human Body

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