Tokyo: A Japanese company on Thursday launched a pocket-sized detector that can alert people when they start to stink, and could help bring an end to ‘smell harassment’ at workplace.
The detector, which looks like a tape recorder, connects by Bluetooth to a smartphone app that allows people to self-test their sweaty exteriors for three categories of smell.
The device called Kunkun Body — Japanese word for sniff — can be used to test for smells in four locations: near the head, behind the ear, under the armpit and around the feet.
High sweat readings prompt a message to the owner’s phone saying “immediately care is needed”.
According to Konica Minolta, the firm best known for producing cameras and printers, there is a market for the odour checker in Japan because people are “particularly sensitive to smell”.
There is even a word in Japanese for the behaviour of office workers who annoy others with their noxious aromas — sumehara, or ‘smell harassment’, The Guardian reported.
“We looked for a device to measure body smell, only to find that there was no device at all to tell the different types of smells,” said Daisuke Koda, the incubation lead at Konica Minolta Japan’s business innovation centre.
Studies have shown that the number one etiquette concern in the workplace was body smell, Koda added.
The device is available to Japanese buyers as part of a set of care products in a crowd-funding drive launched on Thursday.
However, the company said it had no current plans to sell the device outside Japan.