New technology analyzes, visualizes breath odors


Boozehounds and hobby alcoholics beware: A new technology developed by the Tokyo Medical and Dental University is able to analyze your breath odors and visualize their dispersal. But it’s not only good to detect alcohol in your breath but could also be used as an indicator for diseases in the future (sorry for the silly pic – the university doesn’t supply any).

The person to be tested has to stand in a dark room and speak into a microphone-like device whose mouthpiece is covered by a special enzyme-treated gauze. The enzymes interact with components in your breath, resulting in a chemical reaction that produces light. This light is then captured by a video camera, with the footage serving as the object for analysis.

The researchers say their system can accurately measure the amount of ethanol, methanethiol, or acetone in a person’s breath. It can be used as a breath analyzer for drinkers, but also to investigate the reasons for a person’s bad breath, to evaluate liver functions and possibly even to help in the analysis of serious diseases such as diabetes or cancer.

Via Nikkei [registration required, paid subscription]