Artificial noses have, until now, been used to detect diseases such as urinary tract infection, Helicobacter pylori, tuberculosis, ear, nose and throat conditions and even lung cancer. They have also been clinically tested for use in continuous monitoring of different disease stages.
Now, a multidisciplinary research team with eight European partners is collaborating under a EU-funded project called Bioelectronic Olfactory Neuron Device, dubbed BOND. Their aim is to develop a very sensitive and selective device that can detect and distinguish different types of smells.
This system relies on functionalized electrodes binding to olfactory receptors capable of sending tiny electric signals, which are subsequently detected and amplified.
The challenge is to develop whole new arrays of olfactory receptors to process different smells for different diseases.