Towards Bionic Noses

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Electronic nose technologies are moving rapidly towards hybrid bioelectronic systems where biological odour recognition elements from the olfactory pathways of vertebrates and insects are being utilised to construct new “bionic noses” that can be used in industrial applications. Recent progress is reviewed. With increased understanding of how the chemical senses and the brain function in biology – an emerging field of “neuromorphic olfaction” has arisen. Important
components are olfactory receptor proteins and soluble proteins found at the periphery of olfaction called odorant binding proteins. The idea is that these proteins can be incorporated into transducers and function as biorecognition elements for volatile compounds of interest. Major drivers are the security, environmental and medical applications, and we shall find the internet of things being a major factor in implementing low cost chemical sensing in networked applications for the future. Widespread take up of new technologies that are cheap will minimise the impact of environmental pollution, increase food safety, and may potentially help in non-invasive screening for medical ailments. This review brings together diverse threads of research leading to a common theme that will inform a non-expert of recent developments in the field.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)165-171
Number of pages7
JournalSensor Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 20 Mar 2017