Hyderabad: Our virtual assistants in our homes and in our smartphones guide us in different ways. From telling us about which song to play for what kind of mood to telling us about the newest restaurant in town to even helping us navigate around the city. While hearing, seeing and even sensing our touch has been replicated successfully by electronics, there is one thing they cannot do – smell us or our surroundings.
However, if recent research is anything to go by then a future where our gadgets could tell us about when our breath might be smelling bad is not far – which is a smaller problem compared to what MIT researchers are doing. As per reports, MIT researchers are looking at detecting diseases by replicating a dog’s smelling capabilities and help in flagging illness early on.
As per Vox, Andreas Mershin, a research scientist and inventor at MIT is working on developing a smell-based technology that can be put inside a phone to detect diseases early-on. “I think we’re maybe five years away, maybe a little bit less,” he says, “to get it from where it is now to fully inside of a phone. And I’m talking [about deploying it] into a hundred million phones.”
Research has shown that dogs can smell cancer, Parkinson’s, malaria, and other conditions that can cause changes in human odour and research is also being undertaken to check if dog’s have an ability to detect Covid-19. “The idea has always been for the dog to translate what he knows with his nose to an electronic device,” says Claire Guest, a scientist who is researching Covid-19-sniffing dogs.
Mershin and his team are building a Nano Nose which uses machine learning to let the device figure out its own way to recognise smells and it could detect smells using real receptors.
So, if this research gets through then our smartphones could be saving lives!