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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Artificial Nose Knows

LONDON () -- U.S. researchers say they have invented an artificial nose that literally lights up to identify different smells. Todd Dickinson, a chemist, and colleagues at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts said Wednesday their approach to detecting odors could be used in a variety of applications, from hospitals to pollution monitoring.

The "nose" uses bundles of optical fibers coated with slightly different solutions of plastic and dye, the researchers reported in the journal Nature. The plastics have properties which cause them to react to different vapors, or smells, in characteristic ways that change light shone through them.