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Smelloscope

Handheld smell detector shows what smells are present, how strong, and where
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Using nanotechnology, design a small, handheld mass spectrograph / gas chromatograph (those devices which airports use to detect explosive chemicals on people).

Program it with the common name and/or typical origin, of various smells/chemicals. So when it detects certain mercaptans, it would display "garlic," or "skunk stink," or "grapefruit," whichever's most appropriate.

It would also display the strength of the smells detected -- not necessarily in parts per million, but adjusted for how strongly typical human noses react to those molecules. It would also list whether that smell is typically considered pleasant or unpleasant.

Lastly, it would have accellerometers and gyroscopes inside, in order to know it's own location, using dead reckoning. Thus, you could wave it around yourself in a circle, and it would then be able to point an arrow in the direction each detected smell is the strongest.

goldbb, Apr 07 2009

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       This is a thing under development now, apart from the directional component (AFAIK). Search for "micro mass spectrometer" or "portable mass spectrometer" or "handheld mass spectrometer".   

       But the things used in airports are more commonly ion mobility spectrometers, IME, probably because they're easier and cheaper to build and maintain.
notexactly, Apr 09 2019
  

       Oddly enough, I thought this would be a device that works in space...how fragrant that passing comet was etc...
not_morrison_rm, Apr 09 2019
  
      
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