A diagnostic device that uses bio-optic smell sensors to aid in quality control (QC) procedures for food manufacturers may well be able to rival the human nose for smell analysis in the coming future. Aryballe Technologies, a French company, undertook the research and development for the product which has exceeded initial expectations.
The bio-sensors that enable its quality control and product development functions can record data on flavor and freshness changes over time, a feat which challenges current human QC analysts.
The device is also portable, which allows it to be used across manufacturing and testing facilities. The ability to harness bio-sensor capabilities in a tool light and mobile enough to carry may mean that additional diagnostic tools for everyday consumer use could become a possibility as researchers realize the potential of bio-sensor technology.
Current Capabilities of the Artificial Nose
The so-called “artificial nose” is able to differentiate to the carbon atom degrees of smell changes. While such specificity is limited to ideal conditions, most manufacturing and testing facilities are kept under rigorous regulatory standards, which enhances the ability of the artificial nose to detect and record shifts in smell relatively consistently.
Though it is not as sensitive, comparatively, as the human nose, the device is able to detect aroma molecules in ranges of parts-per-billion. Such sensitivity has exceeded the initial expected result posited during research and development, which speaks to the potential of additional development dollars to drive the device’s sensitivity to rival the human nose.
At these levels, the artificial nose is prepared to handle manufacturing-level and raw material sourcing QC processes across as much as 60% of applications. With over 800 aromas already stored in its databases, the additional applications are positioned to span industries and processes.
The Next Stages for Consumer-Use Diagnostic Tools
The key to the artificial nose’s utility is its portability. Already, consumers favor portability for everyday-use items such as smartphones. Because access to information and data on-the-go is so powerful even at an individual level, production of diagnostic tools, such as the artificial nose, for consumer use could affect economy at a local, national, and global level. It’s an intriguing incentive for companies who are already pouring resources into research and development for consumer diagnostic tools.
To prepare tools for consumer use, however, producers need to expand on the utility and consistency of sensors and diagnostics within. Defining the goals for diagnostic tool use (for example, to test food quality on a consumer level while on a trip to the grocery store) may help research and development teams target sensitivity of sensors to evolve for specific purposes.
Finding new ways to detect smell changes in typical grocery store foods distributed worldwide, for instance, can be expected to require less time in research and development and fewer resources than building a complete database of aromas present in North America. It would also be more feasible to construct that device in a mobile form than it would to build a device equipped with sensors robust enough to differentiate North American aromas on a granular level.
Innovating new products is one of the many ways that the Ph.D. scientists and chemical analysis teams at Avomeen make a difference in the product development world. Talk to us to learn more about the potential of consumer diagnostics and how you may be able to formulate or improve on a consumer-ready diagnostic tool.