Friday, June 30, 2006

Invention of the day: Japanese engineers have reportedly developed an odor recorder.
Simply point the gadget at a freshly baked cookie, for example, and it will analyse its odour and reproduce it for you using a host of non-toxic chemicals...

"In video, you just need to record shades of red, green and blue," [researcher Pambuk Somboon] says. "But humans have 347 olfactory sensors, so we need a lot of source chemicals."

Somboon's system will use 15 chemical-sensing microchips, or electronic noses, to pick up a broad range of aromas. These are then used to create a digital recipe from a set of 96 chemicals that can be chosen according to the purpose of each individual gadget. When you want to replay a smell, drops from the relevant vials are mixed, heated and vaporised. In tests so far, the system has successfully recorded and reproduced the smell of orange, lemon, apple, banana and melon. "We can even tell a green apple from a red apple," Somboon says.