[nano tech] Nokia Handset Checks Breath for Diseases

Feb 20, 2009
Tetsuo Nozawa, Nikkei Electronics
Victor Higgs, managing director of AND
Victor Higgs, managing director of AND
[Click to enlarge image]
AND's mobile phone features a function to detect diseases from the user's breath blown into the hole to the right of the "Nokia" logo.
AND's mobile phone features a function to detect diseases from the user's breath blown into the hole to the right of the "Nokia" logo.
[Click to enlarge image]

Applied Nanodetectors Ltd (AND) of the UK prototyped a mobile phone that can detect various diseases from user's breath and exhibited it at the International Nanotechnology Exhibition & Conference (nano tech 2009).

The handset was manufactured by Nokia Corp of Finland. AND is aiming to do businesses with Japanese mobile carriers, the company said.

The mobile phone is embedded with AND's chip that integrates sensors to detect various gases such as CO2, NOx and ammonia (NH3).

This chip determines the composition of the user's breath and tabulates the density of each gas. By matching the results with characteristics of various diseases, it can detect diseases. The matching process is similar to fingerprint matching, said Victor Higgs, managing director of AND.

AND claims that the handset can detect asthma, diabetes, lung cancer, a kind of food poisoning called "gastro" in Europe, oral odor level and breath alcohol concentration, etc.

There are some devices on the market that can measure oral odor level, but this is the first chip that is capable of detecting so many factors and embedded in a mobile phone. If the handset detects one or more of these diseases or abnormalities, it will automatically inform the user or his/her doctor for early detection of diseases, the company said.

However, the marketing schedule of this handset is yet to be determined even in Europe.

"We contacted Nokia first because mobile phone manufacturers have more influence than carriers in Europe," Higgs said. "But we are intending to discuss business with carriers in Japan because they are more influential in this country. If the handset is commercialized in Japan, it will be just a matter of time before the handset spreads all over Asia."