by Nosang Myung, a professor at the University of California, Riverside, Bourns
College of Engineering, has enabled a Riverside Calif.-based company to develop
an “electronic nose” prototype that can detect small quantities of harmful
Engineered Applications Inc., an Innovation Economy Corporation company, has
completed the prototype which is based on intellectual property exclusively
licensed from the University of California. The device has potential applications
in agriculture (detecting pesticide levels), industrial sites (detecting gas
leaks, combustion emissions), homeland security (warning systems for bioterrorism),
and the military (detecting chemical warfare agents).
is a really important step,” Myung says. “The prototype clearly shows that our
research at the university has applications in industry.”
Abbott, president of Nano Engineered Applications Inc., which is designing the
product and expects to begin selling it within a year, says the company is now
focused on writing software related to the device and working to make it
present, it’s about four inches by seven inches. The goal is to make it the
size of a credit card. At that size, a multichannel sensor would be able to
detect up to eight toxins. A single-channel sensor device could be the size of
Sensor developed by Nosang Myung that can detect airborne toxins.
Engineered Applications Inc. is now looking to collaborate with companies that
could bring the production version to market, Abbott says. He believes the
product will initially be commercialized on the industrial side for monitoring
such things as gas and toxin leaks and emissions.
key to the prototype is the nanosensor array that Myung started developing
eight years ago. It uses functionalized carbon nanotubes, which are 100,000
times finer than human hair, to detect airborne toxins down to the parts per
prototype also includes a computer chip, USB ports, and temperature and
humidity sensors. Version 2 of the prototype, due out in 30 days (around
September 22, 2012), will integrate a GPS device and a Bluetooth unit to sync
it with a smart phone. The development team is evaluating if adding Wi-Fi
capabilities will add value.
unit is designed to be incorporated in three basic platforms: a handheld
device, a wearable device, and in a smartphone. Different platforms will be
used depending on the application.
example, a handheld unit could be used for environmental monitoring, such as a
gas spill. A wearable unit could be used for a children’s asthma study in which
the researcher wants to monitor air quality. A smartphone unit could be used by
public safety officials to detect a potentially harmful airborne agent.
the past year, Nano Engineered Applications Inc. has provided financial support
to Myung’s research. Of that, a portion went toward naming Myung’s laboratory
the Innovation Economy Corporation Laboratory.