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A new accessory for your iPhone: a NASA-developed chemical sensor

What's better than a handful of sensors for determining if some hostile enemy has set off chemical weapons in a city? How about hundreds of thousands or millions of sensors? If research being done by NASA Ames Research Center under the Cell-All program in the US Department of Homeland Security's Science and Technology Directorate is taken into production, your next smartphone might contain chemical-sensing circuitry.

A recent article in OnOrbit described a proof of concept that was developed by Jing Li, a scientist at Ames, and a group of other researchers. In order to test out the tiny nanosensor-based chemical sensing circuitry, Li and his team created a device that plugs into the dock port of an iPhone.

To quote the original post,
The new device is able to detect and identify low concentrations of airborne ammonia, chlorine gas and methane. The device senses chemicals in the air using a "sample jet" and a multiple-channel silicon-based sensing chip, which consists of 16 nanosensors, and sends detection data to another phone or a computer via telephone communication network or Wi-Fi.
A newer version of the sensor has 64 nanosensors built-in and is less than 1 cm on a side. Isn't it cool that your iPhone is getting to be more like a Star Trek tricorder every day?

[via Gizmodo]


What's better than a handful of sensors for determining if some hostile enemy has set off chemical weapons in a city? How about hundreds of...