This is something I suggested to Lockheed Martin five years ago as an application of the cabin air monitoring technology we were developing for Orion: New Technologies Smell Sickness
We’ve long known that sickness has a smell. Service dogs can smell and be trained to alert humans to seizures and even cancer.
Now scientists are using technology to ‘smell’ diseases that the human nose can’t.
The Technion-Israel Institute of Technology team behind the Na-Nose, which is designed to detect up to 17 diseases, claims that its new technology can a wide range of diseases on a person’s breath.
Each person’s breath is made up of a number of chemical compounds, unique to us. They may be dependent upon gender, age, race and a host of other biological factors.
The Na-Nose’s developers claim that it can smell diseases including some forms of cancer, multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson’s. So far, it has proven to be 86 percent accurate at detecting diseases.
We’ve actually had this idea on the back-burner for a while for use in an Ares Project story, but the need hasn’t yet come up. While the obvious applications are in health monitoring, the same technology could potentially be fitted to a robot and used for prospecting, by sniffing out trace volatiles and airborne “contaminants” indicating the presence of certain useful minerals.