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You Can Pick Your Nose But Would Your Nose Pick Hugo Boss?

Posted Aug 18 2009 11:08pm

Mid Brain reports: MBDFLYY EC003

Call me a geek, but I dream of the day when we invent an electronic nose that’s better than our own nostrils. Well, now my dream has come one step closer to reality:  Science Daily reports that the smelling range of electronic noses has been dramatically improved through a program that compares their readings to what is arguably the best nose of all – the common housefly.

Super Fly

According to the article the scientists evaluated “how the most common type of e-nose sensors – metal oxide or ‘MOx’ receptors – sample the air around them. This is a critical factor in the performance of all noses. We then compared it with the performance of odorant receptors from the common house fly, Drosophila.”

The researchers say that this new system allows them to compare electronic sensors with biological ones. That’s a huge advance because, amazingly, a house fly is able to do something that human engineers can’t: create a range of broadly tuned, independent scent receptors.  But once we crack this nut, we could be using fly nostrils to help perfume companies create the next new Hugo Boss scent. I can hardly wait!  (By the way, the detailed analysis of the nasal receptors of the fly (aka Drosophila) is possible because it’s the first insect to have its genome described. Isn’t science cool???)

The Beauty Brains bottom line

While electronic noses (or E-noses as they are known) are already commonly used to assess food and air quality, they have yet to gain a foothold in fragrance development. But for this geeky Beauty Brain, there’s something intriguing about having a fly-inspired robotic electronic nose helping to design the next new fragrance from Hugo Boss.

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