innovation: digital smell of success: an electronic nose offers commercial advantages over the human equivalent - water absorbing polymer
A British company has successfully digitized the smell, creating the first electronic nose equal to the power of human organs.
Smell can now be faxed or transmitted by computer, and this progress will change quality control by allowing food companies, perfume factories or beverage manufacturers to evaluate freshness, the fragrance and applicability of raw materials before they are delivered to the factory.
The development provides the first objective measurement method of odor, which can monitor the odor of pig farms, sewage treatment plants or chemical plants.
The device can also be used to detect fires and monitor wound healing.
Users of the technology, developed by the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (Umist), include Coca-
Coca-Cola, Ford, European Space Agency, white bread, brewing Institute, tap water company, Japanese grain processing company and Food Research Association.
The company, known as arosascan, was spun off from the university and plans to go public later this year.
The arosascan machine was inspired by biochemist Krishna Persaud, who started creating a human nose model in 1984.
This highly complex organ has 30 different types of sensors, and millions of sensors work in parallel.
Each sensor can absorb a series of odor molecules on its surface, producing overlapping reactions.
The information from each sensor is entered into the olfactory bulb, which fuses the olfactory bulb together and produces patterns of the absorbed odor molecules.
It then refers the pattern to the brain, which checks it against its odor memory and actually says, "Yes.
I have smelled this before. It's a rose.
The foundation of the Aromascan instrument is a series of conductive polymers that, like human sensors, trap odor molecules in their surface structures.
This changes the electrical conductivity of the polymer, so it is possible to analyze the changes in the signal to produce the electronic features of each odor.
This then matches the odor database.
The device can be set up for fine distinction-
For example, between Mysore and Brazilian roasted coffee beans
Or do simple things like make sure the food is fresh or not.
The arosascan instrument can be plugged into any personal computer.
The software that analyzes the data is a neural network that learns to identify Brazilian coffee beans or something by touching several coffee bean samples and building a database of smells in the same way as the brain.
Mr. Persaud found the first taste.
Absorb polymer by chance reference in scientific papers.
However, since he joined forces with Peter Payne at Umist in 1986, a library of 50 polymers has been developed and patented.
Professor Payne has become the technical director of arosascan, and the company's research will continue at the University.
18 months ago, Umist set up a company called odourmaper, which has sold 25 instruments to commercialize the study.
Umist Ventures, the university's technology transfer arm, then persuaded local investor Harold Morley, who had previously supported the Tepnel Diagnostics Foundation of another Umist spin
Invest in the company.
It was renamed armascan and built in Crewe.
Arosascan will sell its systems directly to the analytical instruments market, but recognizes that it requires joint ventures and licensed transactions to develop a wide range of potential applications.
General manager Alan Sims said the company is close to multiple deals, including deals with a large healthcare company to develop diagnostic equipment and with a food company engaged in quality control applications, there is also a water company that develops environmental monitoring systems.
Arosascan says it will cost about 2 per test using its device compared to 15
£ 25 for testing to analyze food ingredients by breaking down food ingredients into their individual ingredients.
Unlike humans, it will also work 24 hours a day (
Or in the pet food industry, dogs and cats)sensory panels.
Although human noses can quickly become insensitive after being exposed to smells, aromatic substances can continue to smell.
The smell is composed of volatile molecules that change over time.
Just like the human nose, Aromascan can detect that the mayonnaise has fallen off immediately after the lid has been removed from the jar.
But, a few hours later, when the scent profile changes and the human nose can no longer detect this change, it can also feel this.
Bisto children will not go to aaah if their favorite gravy gets a different smell.
This demand for odor consistency is a concern for food companies.
In addition to this application of the arosascan electronic nose: Ford is using it to monitor exhaust emissions. Coca-
Coke is used for quality control in coke production.
The European Space Agency used it as a fire detector in its rocket.
Release volatile odor molecules if the cable starts to overheat.
Whitbread is monitoring its brewing process with the device
If the fermentation goes wrong, the entire production batch will be lost.
The University of South Manchester hospital used it in a trial to detect wounds that were infected before there were any visual signs.
It is being used by a water company to monitor and reduce the smell of the sewage plant. (Graphics omitted)