Cyranose 320 for Cyrano Sciences

Portable electronic odor detector

Using an ingenious technology licensed from Caltech, Cyrano Sciences has developed a portable electronic nose, a device for detecting odors in a variety of industrial environments. By imprinting a “smellprint” on its 32-sensor NoseChip, the Cyranose 320 could be used for noninvasive medical diagnostics, hazardous materials identification, and food spoilage detection, and many other applications.

The multidisciplinary design team overcame several obstacles to give form to this new technology. Since it may be used in a variety of harsh environments, the device is provided with a rubber boot to protect it from falls or liquids. The removable snout is long and tapered, with an adjustable tip for sampling in difficult-to-reach places. The snout is locked on with a quarter turn, for easy replacement. A complex pneumatic manifold routes the air past an array of devices, including bellows, filter, sampler, etc. The backlit LCD screen has large easy to read characters, and the buttons are large for use with gloved hands. It fits comfortably in the hand, with a finger grip recess on the back, and a button configuration that enables one-handed use. Complex software features and on-screen information were simplified and organized to facilitate quick navigation.

Previously, electronic noses were large, stationary, expensive machines that required significant training. The Cyranose 320 is a portable handheld e-nose that allows the user to identify odors on-site anywhere. At a fraction of what similar devices cost, the Cyranose 320 brings electronic odor detection to a broad new audience.

(The Cyranose is now sold by Smiths Detection, smithsdetection.com.)

Project date: 1999