Detection

  • ​Ordinarily, when drinking water is being tested for toxic heavy metals, samples have to be sent off to labs. And while there are portable testing systems, they do have some limitations. A new device, however, is claimed to work better – by copying a process that takes place within the human body.
  • Science
    ​While there are already electronic devices that detect toxic gases, they can be expensive, and require training to properly use. Soon, though, there could be a cheap and simple alternative – threads woven into washable clothing, that change color when nasty gases are present.
  • Science
    ​Although a certain amount of fluoride is added to municipal water supplies to help prevent tooth decay, too much can actually have the opposite effect – particularly on children. A new device could allow officials to detect those overly-high levels, cheaper and easier than ever before.
  • A team of researchers have revealed an innovative new salvia test that promises to quickly and cheaply screen for the presence of malaria parasites up to a week before any symptoms appear.
  • The mbira is an African musical instrument that has been around in one form or another for at least 3,000 years. Now, however, scientists have developed a new version that – when combined with a smartphone – can detect toxic substances and possibly even counterfeit medication.
  • Science
    ​It's possible that the honey you buy in the supermarket isn't pure – unscrupulous suppliers will often dilute it with cheaper substances such as corn syrup or molasses. An "electronic tongue," however, is claimed to detect such added ingredients faster than ever before.
  • Science
    ​If the mosquitoes in a given area start carrying viruses such as Zika or Dengue, then the sooner that local health authorities know, the better. And while existing mosquito-testing procedures take at least week to deliver results, a new biosensor does so in less than an hour.
  • Science
    ​Although there already are devices that let you objectively check if you've got bad breath (aka halitosis), they typically require a power source and an involved calibration process, plus they often aren't very sensitive or quick to respond. A newly-developed sensor, however, could change that.
  • Science
    ​It's important for us to be able to detect odors such as those emitted by spoiled food. However, what if there were a low-cost "electronic nose" that was better at detecting those things, providing us with an earlier warning? That's what's being developed at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology.
  • Science
    ​We're getting one step closer to a portable, practical and affordable "cocaine breathalyzer," thanks to research being conducted at the University at Buffalo. Scientists there have created a chip that detects the drug in samples of a person's blood, breath, urine or saliva.
  • ​In the aftermath of a disaster such as an earthquake, it's of the utmost importance to quickly find live victims buried under the rubble. A new device, created by a team led by ETH Zurich's Prof. Sotiris E. Pratsinis, could make doing so cheaper and easier than ever.
  • In resource-poor developing nations, tuberculosis is typically diagnosed by analyzing a smear of a patient's sputum with a standard microscope – a method that's somewhat problematic. Now, scientists have confirmed that getting rats to sniff the samples is a better way to go.