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Industrial

We intend to address medical diagnostics for mass market applications of the eNose as a top priority, but in principle, the applications mentioned below could also be further developed. However, for final product development, partnerships are required.

In this section we describe some examples of these industrial applications as well as a representation technique, developed for fast interpretation of measurement data.


Successful proofs of concept

Many applications for a low-cost electronic nose can be envisioned, e.g. as ‘early warning’ systems. We have successfully conducted several prototypes and/or proofs of concept. These applications have been developed in the course of development of our eNose technology:

    • Monitoring of filter lifetime for naval applications: a prototype has been realized successfully in a project with Stork and tested at the Dutch Royal Navy.
    • Detection of specific toxic gases: as our electronic nose can be miniaturized easily (e.g. incorporation in a mobile phone has been suggested), personal protection (early warning) is feasible for e.g. fire fighters or even consumers.
    • Detection of chemical warfare gases (e.g. mustard gas): several of these gases can be successfully detected and identified. Application of the electronic nose can be either as portable personal protection or with fixed mounting at vital spots.
    • Detection of hydrazine: This emergency fuel for e.g. the F-16 fighter jets is extremely toxic. The C-it electronic nose is capable of identifying hydrazine and at the same time distinguishing it from ammonia that is often nearby (farmers) and chemically a look-a-like. An electronic nose could be mounted on a truck distributing the hydrazine.
    • Detection of ethylene: Our eNose can detect ethylene at ppm- level. This gas is of major importance in growing vegetables and fruit, and flower bulbs.
    • Detection of deviations from the desired cabin-air quality: There are no technical barriers left for applying electronic nose technology for monitoring air quality in aircraft: today, it is feasible to manufacture, robust, small, low-cost electronic nose devices without the need for individual system calibration. This enables applying multiple units in a single airplane for detailed detection of deviations from the desired air quality. Using dedicated software flight personnel will be able to monitor easily where these deviations arise and what the probable cause is. Flight personnel can then take the appropriate actions. A paper on this concept has been presented at the SAE-conference in Toulouse (France) in October 2011.

 

An ODO-map (left) and a CABIN-map (right). An array of electronic noses can adequately monitor air quality at different spots and indicate abnormal deviations immediately. Red dots could be labeled (e.g. to seat numbers) for a quick indication of the source of the abnormality.

Odo-mapping

We have developed a convenient way for representing measurement data, enabling early detection of deviations in the environmental composition. We call this a ‘Odo-map’.

In this application the patterns obtained from the sensor(s) are projected onto a 2D surface using highly sophisticated mathematical compression techniques. The plot is designed as a radar screen in which the origin (centre) represents clean air. Any measured response will result in a deviation from the centre.

The direction of the deviation depends on the gas or gases measured; the distance from the centre is a measure of the concentration. Thus the measurements are presented visually without requirement of calibration to specific substances. The consistency between any two hardware units results in similar behavior of the Odo-map™. Interpretation of the measurements is the task of the user who must ‘learn’ to interpret the plotted behavior by experience.

The Odo-mapping technique allows users in many different areas to employ a generic device without requiring application tuning from the manufacturer. The information generated by the Odo-map set-up will be sufficient in many cases. Thus a multitude of application areas can be serviced with a single design.

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