New disease-finding electronic nose sniffs poop so scientists don’t have to

electronic nose sniffs stool gettyimages 836200750
Getty Images/Jennifer A Smith
Your physician may soon have an impressive new technology for quickly and non-invasively diagnosing colon-related illnesses, such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. The secret? Using an electronic nose to sniff your stool.

Researchers from the Gandia campus of the Polytechnic University of Valencia and the La Fe Health Investigation Institute in Spain have developed a prototype of this electronic nose, called Moosy 32 eNose, which is able to tell whether either of these two diseases is active with almost 90 percent accuracy. Unlike the invasive tests used to diagnose colon-related illnesses today, the eNose can offer answers within just three minutes.

The Moosy 32 eNose is comprised of a special sensor designed by the researchers, which is able to detect specific volatile organic compounds that act as diagnostic markers. In addition, they can be used to reveal the severity of a disease. An algorithm is then employed to turn the registering of specific whiffs into diagnoses.

“Volatile organic compounds are created by physiological processes of human metabolism and are expelled as waste through feces,” Dr. Pilar Nos, head of the Digestive System Medicine Department at La Fe hospital, said in a statement. “The concentration of these components can be a differentiating marker between certain bowel diseases, and their accurate detection by way of non-invasive devices such as the electronic nose would be a great step forward for the detection and monitoring of the evolution of these diseases.”

At present, the researchers have completed tests involving 445 different samples. However, there is still work to be done in improving the algorithm’s detection ability. The investigators behind the project also want to expand the number of “scents” the system is able to register to additionally include diagnosing prostate cancer — or even potentially detecting microbial contamination in water or the ripeness of fruit.

This isn’t the first time we’ve covered “electronic nose” devices which could be used to sniff out problems. Last year, Digital Trends wrote about a similar project in which Belgian scientists developed a method for detecting extremely low concentrations of chemicals like pesticides and nerve gas — even if it was the equivalent of a single drop of water in an Olympic-sized swimming pool.


Sony could use a robot to turn your PlayStation into a fitness machine

Sony submitted a patent application for a robotic device equipped with a camera to assist in your workout. The images included suggest that the device will work with your PlayStation console.
Home Theater

The best Dolby Atmos movies for your home theater sound as good as they look

If you've got your hands on some sweet Dolby Atmos gear, the next step is to find films that take advantage of it. These are our picks in several genres for the best Dolby Atmos movies currently available on Blu-ray and streaming services.
Movies & TV

No TV? No problem. Here's how to watch the Final Four online

Whether you want to watch the Big Dance on your phone or on your smart TV, we have the lowdown on all the ways to watch March Madness you can handle. Grab your foam finger and some nachos.

Don't take your provider's word for it. Here's how to test your internet speed

If you're worried that you aren't getting the most from your internet package, speed tests are a great way to find out what your real connection is capable of. Here are the best internet speed tests available today.
Emerging Tech

Desk lamps take on a new task by converting their light to power

What if we could charge devices using light from indoor sources like desk lamps? A group of scientists working on a technology called organic photovoltaics (OPVs) aim to do just that.
Emerging Tech

Body surrogate robot helps people with motor impairments care for themselves

A team from Georgia Tech has come up with an assistant robot to help people who have severe motor impairments to perform tasks like shaving, brushing their hair, or drinking water.
Emerging Tech

A.I.-generated text is supercharging fake news. This is how we fight back

A new A.I. tool is reportedly able to spot passages of text written by algorithm. Here's why similar systems might prove essential in a world of fake news created by smart machines.
Emerging Tech

New Hubble image displays dazzling Messier 28 globular cluster

Messier 28 is a group of stars in the constellation of Sagittarius, located 18,000 light-years from our planet. Thousands of stars are packed tightly together in this sparkling image.
Emerging Tech

Cosmic dust bunnies: Scientists find unexpected ring around Mercury

A pair of scientists searching for a dust-free region near the Sun have made an unexpected discovery: a vast cosmic dust ring millions of miles wide around the tiny planet Mercury.
Emerging Tech

Take a dip in the Lagoon Nebula in first image from SPECULOOS instrument

The European Southern Observatory has released the first image collected by their new SPECULOOS instrument, and it's a stunning portrait of the Lagoon Nebula, a swirling cloud of dust and gas where new stars are born.
Emerging Tech

Robot assistants from Toyota and Panasonic gear up for the Tokyo Olympics

Japan plans to use the 2020 Olympics to showcase a range of its advanced technologies. Toyota and Panasonic are already getting in on the act, recently unveiling several robotic designs that they intend to deploy at the event.
Emerging Tech

Racing to catch a flight? Robot valet at French airport will park your car

Hate searching for parking at the airport when you need to catch a plane? Startup Stanley Robotics recently unveiled a new outdoor automated robotic valet system. Here's how it works.

Bags with brains: Smart luggage and gadgets are making travel smoother

The bag you use to tote your stuff can affect the experience of any trip. In response, suitcases are wising up, and there are now options for smart luggage with scales, tracking, and more. Here are our favorite pieces.

At $99, Nvidia’s Jetson Nano minicomputer seeks to bring robotics to the masses

Nvidia announced a new A.I. computer, the Jetson Nano. This computer comes with an 128-core GPU that Nvidia claims can handle pretty much any A.I. framework you could imagine. At $99, it's an affordable way for A.I. newbies to get involved.