Thursday, May 17, 2012

On Second Thought Who Needs Lassie?

Cal Tech’s Heather McCraig

Is it time to send your diabetes scent detection dog back to the animal shelter? In a blog post on MIT’s Technology Review, David Zax takes a look at the possibility of diagnostic e-noses embedded in smart phones.

Bottom line: a neat idea that needs a lot of work to reduce to practice.

Zax embeds what he oxymoronically calls a “cool video from the American Chemical Society.” The video is about chemical vapor sensors and features a Cal Tech nerdette named Heather McCraig—a graduate student in Nate Lewis’s lab—and some really silly 1950’s-style background music. [Don’t be so square. It’s ironic post-modern nerd music.—Ed.] [Okay, okay.]

One of Ms. Craig’s talking points needs work: the canary in the coal mine is a good analogy for chemical vapor sensors but a bad one for e-noses. (Canaries detect odorless methane gas.) Still in all, she’s good on camera and is working in probably the premier chemical sensor lab in the country. [And her safety glasses are way more fashionable than yours.—Ed.] [Bite me.]

Hat tip to Instapundit.

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