Soon your cell phone may grow a nose that constantly sniffs the air for carbon monoxide and other dangerous airborne chemicals. Not only would this electronic innovation make your phone a personal CO detector, it could also alert civil defense authorities and emergency first responders to chemical events in real time.
Scientists at UC San Diego and Rhevision developed the tiny detectors, which use supermacro lenses to watch silicon chips that change color when exposed to airborne chemicals. Patterns of color on a single chip can signal a wide variety of toxic hazards.
UCSD's Michael Sailor and team are busy working on prototypes for cell phones and firefighter helmets. The project is funded by the Department of Homeland Security.
Thank you, Medgadget, for alerting us to another amazing new technology.
(Photo: Sailor Lab/UCSD)