Engineering professor, Nosang Vincent Myung develops prototype for robotic nose
Engineering professor Nosang Vincent Myung and his team are producing an electronic nose that can detect various odours.
Drawing inspiration from the physiology of the human nose, which relies on olfactory sensors that respond to smells, the sensors transmit an electrical signal to the brain where the pattern of that signal is stored.
The group’s prototype transfers olfactory data to Bluetooth enabled devices.
“Our electronic nose is very similar to that,” Myung explained. “Except, instead of using biological molecules, we’re using nano engineering material, which responds to exposure to all smells. Instead of neurons transmitted electronically, Bluetooth sends a signal to your computer.”
Robotic noses are not only useful for amnesia patients, but can be used for a wide range of markets. This includes naval ships that can use it to identify dangerous odours, those with severe allergies to make sure their food is safe, and even, possibly, to detect cancers by analysing changes in the chemical makeup of urine.
Team member Connor Zendzian is driven by the idea that his work could help many people. As a participant in the Notre Dame ESTEEM Graduate Program, Zendzian was matched with Myung’s project and work on the commercialisation of the robotic nose.
He says that he sees huge potential in the device and wants to ensure its success.
“If you can’t get into the hands of people, it’s not going to make the world a better place,” Zendzian said. “And that’s why it’s so cool that these professors are teaming up with the program. Because it makes that a reality. I love that I can genuinely make people’s lives better.”
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