Siri, Do I Have Cancer? NASA Builds Cancer Detecting Mobile Phone Sensor

NASA Already Uses the Sensors to Detect Fuel Leaks

  @https://twitter.com/#!/xanthonysfx on February 03 2012 6:17 PM

Nanosensor technology could allow for Siri to one day answer this question because NASA has built a cancer detecting mobile phone sensor at the Ames Research facility in California. Ames scientific researcher Jing Li is working on a small chip the size of a nickel that includes 32 of the amazing nanosensors. They are all made of different kinds of materials, and that lets them interact with different chemicals in unique ways. It can tell the difference between those chemicals and even measure and track their proportions compared to the surrounding air.

The prototype is near completion, but scientists won't say the type of smartphone the sensor can connect with. They'll make different kinds so more types of phones can be accommodated, tech blog Gizmodo reported. That way, more people can use them and keep themselves safe and healthy. NASA originally built the sensors to be able to find fuel leaks near vehicle launches, and they've been in use on the International Space Station for a few years now. Up in space, they're used for air-quality assurance and making sure there is no build-up of formaldehyde in the station's air.

The sensor project is now headed for many applications like protecting soldiers from chemical weapons. It uses little power, so that's good for smarphone batteries, and it's being tested to scan for things like methane, ammonia, carbon monoxide and chlorine in people's homes.

Obviously, as this story's title implies, the most incredible way the sensor's could be used is to monitor people's health. People with diabetes, for example, have demonstrated a connection between the amount of acetone in their breath and their blood sugar level. This could really be a game changer for diabetics because of all the finger pricking that could disappear. Finally, the connection between lung cancer and levels of nitrous oxide in a person's breath could yield a warning system to help catch the disease before it advances. Imagine these sensors built right into mobile devices. Scientists who built the sensor plan to make a Kickstarter page to raise more money for the project, and the variabletech.com Web site has more details about that. Tell us what you think of this amazing tech in the comments.

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