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'Smell cameras' built to detect explosives could sniff out coronavirus

por Dick Fitzsimons (2020-05-23)


Aeronautic giant Airbus is working on sensors that could be used to sniff out coronavirus. 

Ultra-sensitive 'smell cameras' have been in development since 2017 and were initially designed to detect explosives. 

The innovative sensors use microprocessors made of biological cells to identify specific chemicals or microbes floating in the air. 

Similar technology has already been used to detect cancer and influenza, and it could soon be used to provide advance warning of areas contaminated with SARS-Cov-2, the virus which causes COVID-19. 

According to the people behind the project, there are already 'encouraging' signs of early progress as the technology is adapted help to fight the pandemic 

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Ultra-sensitive 'smell cameras' (pictured) have been in development since 2017 and were initially designed to detect explosives. They could soon be adapted to provide advance warning of areas contaminated with SARS-Cov-2, the virus which causes COVID-19







Aeronautic giant Airbus is working on sensors that could be used to 'smell' coronavirus in the air. California-based Koniku partnered with Airbus on the project as the start-up specialises in neurotechnology


California-based Koniku partnered with Airbus on the project as the start-up specialises in neurotechnology. 

Adapting the existing technology in the help against the coronavirus pandemic is possible because the virus makes slight tweaks to particles produced by humans.

These alterations act as markers which can trigger the so-called smell cameras. 

Osh Agabi, Founder & CEO Koniku, wrote in a blog post: 'Koniku & Airbus have been working since 2017 to develop a contactless and automated biotechnology solution to detect, track, and locate chemicals or explosives on board aircraft or in airports. 

'We are now adapting our development activities to include the detection and identification of biological hazards including pathogens such as the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2 with encouraging signals as of today.

'COVID 19 is a warning shot and it cannot be business as usual.'  






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As first reported by the Financial Times , the explosive-detecting variety of the sensors will be trialled by the end of the year in airport screening areas. They could then be phases into use on planes themselves







Osh Agabi, Founder & CEO Koniku, wrote in a blog post: ''We are now adapting our development activities to include the detection and identification of biological hazards including pathogens such as the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2 with encouraging signals as of today'


Airbus explained in a statement that receptors in the sensors would sound the alarm when specific molecular compounds are detected.   

The system is contactless and would be quicker, cheaper and more reliable that training sniffer dogs. 

As first reported by the Financial Times, 아시안오즈 the explosive-detecting variety of the sensors will be trialled by the end of the year in airport screening areas. They could then be phased into use on planes themselves.  

'The technology has a very quick response time of under 10 seconds in best conditions,' Airbus's Julien Touzeau said.

'With this level of maturity, it's an incredible result and hopefully it will improve over time.'















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