One of the most talked about public pranks last April Fools Day was Google’s announcement of a new service called Google Nose, a tool that would let users search the Internet for smells. It was a joke, of course. But while online smell searching isn’t real, artificial noses are quite real. A California company called Cyrano Sciences is working on a prototype electronic nose that will recognize a preprogrammed array of scents. The company claims their “nose” could help supplement the limited capacity of the human nose. Dangerous, undetectable gas leaks could be picked up by an artificial nose, for example. It could even help doctors diagnose pneumonia and other maladies with distinctive smells. An earlier model, the Cyrano 320, a “portable electronic odor detector” has been used in the food and chemical industries since 2000. NASA also uses a similar device to track down problems on the International Space Station.
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