This section provides an overview for smell sensors as well as their applications and principles. Also, please take a look at the list of 18 smell sensor manufacturers and their company rankings. Here are the top-ranked smell sensor companies as of November, 2023: 1.Zhengzhou Winsen Electronics Technology Co., Ltd., 2.Autodesk Inc., 3.U.S. ARMY.
1987~1991: Engaged in research on wire covering materials at Polymer Materials Laboratory.
1991~1997: Worked as a patent Engineer at Koike International Patent Office.
1997~2005 Worked as an intellectual property member at GE Yokogawa Medical System, currently working as a writer.
A smell sensor is a device that can quantify the evaluation of smells that have traditionally relied on the expertise of sensory testing panelists and odor judges.
Among the five human senses, olfaction and taste are recognized by receptors in the nose and tongue that detect components of food, cosmetics, etc. However, the chemical substances that make up these components vary enormously and are often perceived in complex ways, so research and development of sensors has lagged behind that of other senses.
The human sense of smell is an ambiguous sense that varies greatly from person to person, but smell sensor haves made it possible to evaluate smells objectively.
While gas sensors and other devices are available, which identify and quantify individual components, smell sensors enable comprehensive judgment and evaluation of the quality and intensity of an odor.
Currently, smell sensors are useful in the following areas: (1) research and development and quality control of food and cosmetics, (2) measurement of environmental odors, and (3) monitoring of abnormalities in gas, fire, etc.
In case of (1), the sensor is used not for individual gas components, but for subtle identification of the odor emitted by an object.
In case (2), it is used when odor intensity is an issue, such as in the management of work environments and measurement of the effectiveness of deodorization equipment.
In case (3), it is used for safety control purposes, although it does not require correspondence with the human sense of smell.
In addition, for the purpose of medical diagnosis, a sensor that tests for the presence or absence of disease by detecting breath components unique to cancer patients is under development for practical use.
There are two main types of smell sensors: semiconductor and quartz crystal sensors.
The "semiconductor type" has long been used as a gas sensor, and it detects odors by utilizing the change in resistance of a semiconductor due to a surface reaction caused by the adsorption of odor molecules on the semiconductor surface. These systems can be further classified into two types: oxide semiconductor type and organic semiconductor type.
Tin oxide and zinc oxide are used in the oxide semiconductor type, which is used to obtain an output proportional to the presence or absence of a substance and its concentration. Inorganic odorants such as gases are commonly detected, but the sensitivity is low for organic compounds such as fragrances.
Polypyrrole and polyacetylene are used in the organic semiconductor type and are capable of odor discrimination. However, they have the disadvantage of being expensive.
The quartz crystal resonator type consists of a lipid membrane, which is a sensitive membrane that imitates human olfactory cells, attached to the surface of a resonator. When odor molecules are adsorbed on the sensitive membrane, the resonance frequency of the resonator decreases due to the mass loading effect. Using the mechanism whereby the amount of decrease is proportional to the mass of the adsorbed odorant, the concentration of the odorant is measured by measuring the amount of decrease. The system is particularly good at detecting organic odorants, and can discriminate between whiskey, Japanese sake, coffee, and perfume.
Types of odor-sensitive membranes used include epoxy resin membranes, vinyl acetate resin membranes, and Langmuir-Blodgett membranes.
In 2019, a compact odor sensor that can be attached to a smartphone (smart phone) was developed. The smell sensors can be detected by connecting the smell sensors to the smartphone via USB Yype-C. The detected smells can be used for gas leakage, freshness control of food, body odor, alcohol check, etc.
This smell sensor is quartz crystal with a sensitive membrane. It incorporates detector particles with different sensing membranes to detect a wide variety of odors.
When connected to a smartphone, the smartphone serves as the analysis platform. The type and strength of each odor detected is analyzed, and the results are displayed on the smartphone.
Although general sales of the smartphone-mounted smell sensors has not yet been decided, research and improvements are ongoing, and it is expected that the sensor will be able to detect about 10 different types of smells. The product is expected to sell for under $100, making it affordable for everyone in the future. The device is portable, easy to carry, and can detect and manage odors easily and conveniently.
Currently, research is underway to convert the types of smells into data and have AI perform machine learning. This is planned to improve the accuracy of smell sensors and analysis. The number of types of smells that can be detected is also planned to be increased.
The term "smell" has no clear standard or unit, such as "odor" and "stench," "fragrance" and "scent." In smell sensors, too, a method of measuring "smell" is needed. Smell is measured and expressed based on the intensity and comfort or discomfort perceived by the human sense of smell.
Olfactometrics express the intensity and comfort or discomfort perceived by the human sense of smell. These are further classified into four types and each odor is quantified in a step-wise manner.
The four methods are "odor intensity," "pleasantness/displeasure," "odor index," and "periodic frequency."
The odor index display method is a quantification of odor concentration and odor index.
Odor concentration is defined as "the dilution factor required to reach odorlessness when diluted with odorless clean air. The odor index is the value obtained by multiplying the ordinary logarithm of the odor concentration by 10. These values are used as a reference and incorporated into the smell sensors.
*Including some distributors, etc.
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Autodesk Inc is a manufacturer of 3D softwares, founded in 1982, and headquartered in Mill Valley, California. Offerings of the company encompass 3D design and modeling tools such as AutoCAD, Revit, and Fusion 360 for architecture, engineering, and product design. In the construction realm, it provides BIM 360, aiding in streamlined project management and collaboration. For the media and entertainment sector, software like Maya and 3ds Max facilitates 3D animation and rendering. Additionally, the company's portfolio includes engineering simulation software, CAM tools, educational resources, cloud-based collaboration platforms, as well as VR/AR applications, and solutions for GIS, mapping, robotics, and PLM.
Shinyei Capacitor Co., Ltd. is a Japanese manufacturer and supplier of capacitors, inductors, and electromagnetic noise suppression components. Founded in 1946, the company's product includes ceramic capacitors, aluminum electrolytic capacitors, and film capacitors. They also produce inductors and electromagnetic noise suppression components, including ferrite beads and cores. One of Shinyei Capacitor's most popular products is the MLCC (Multi-Layer Ceramic Capacitor), which provides high capacitance in a small package. Shinyei Capacitor has received several awards for their products and services, including the 2008 Nikkei Superior Products and Services Award for their X8R dielectric ceramic capacitor.
Renesas Electronics Corporation was established in 2002 and is headquartered in Tokyo, Japan. Renesas is a global research, design, and manufacturer of semiconductors used in industries spanning automotive, consumer electronics, the internet of things, power & energy, and industrial sectors. Renesas manufactures both analog and digital products. Analog products include amplifiers, audio & video devices, data converters, PLC, and switches & multiplexers. Digital products include microcontrollers, memory components, sensors, wireless connectivity products, and others. Renesas also offers design resources such as kits, development tools, partner programs, and design tools.
New Cosmos Electric, a company founded in 1934 and headquartered in Osaka, Japan, is a manufacturer and supplier of gas detectors and alarm systems. The company's product portfolio includes portable gas detectors, odor sensors, steel dust meters, air quality monitors, and gas detection and alarm systems. These products are utilized by various industries, including the energy industry, steel, construction, transportation, and livestock industries. The company is both ISO 14001 and ISO 9001 certified, with offices and distributors in the USA, Thailand, France, Europe, and Brazil.
Nissha FIS Inc. is a Japanese organization that manufactures and sells and gas sensors especially semiconductor type and it’s associated products. Nissha FIS devices mainly consist of gas sensors, sensor modules and related equipments such as analyzers and detectors. These are mainly used in disaster prevention, medical field and vehicles. The company has been certified for ISO 14001:2004 and JIS Q 14001:2004 for environmental protection. They have set up five regulations for the safety of the environment to be adhered within their company. They are preventing pollution, product safety, preventing global warming, continuous improvement and co-existing with society.
Zhengzhou Winsen Electronics Technology Co. Ltd. (ZWET) is an advanced sensor solutions manufacturer based in Zhengzhou, Henan. Established in 2003, the company primarily produces environmental monitoring devices, gas sensors, and air quality monitoring systems for clients in industrial automation, household appliances, environmental safety, and smart agriculture. The company integrates international supply, R&D, and production operations with consulting services for special projects and custom products in its main 323,000-square-foot facility. ZWET is ISO9001, ISO14001, and ISO45001 certified, with international client companies including Honeywell, Huawei, and Ecovacs.
Bosch Sensortec GmbH, established in 2005 in Germany, is a manufacturer of microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) technology for commercial, original equipment manufacturer, and industrial clients. The company has numerous engineering and sales locations across the globe, assisting clients with the acquisition of the company's product portfolio, which includes 3-axis acceleration, gyroscope, and geomagnetic sensors, integrated 6- and 9-axis sensors, environmental sensors, and a comprehensive software portfolio. Bosch Sensortec GmbH's products are used in commercial products, including smartwatches, smart clothes, drones, robots, and VR devices.
EC Sense was established in 2015 and is based in Hohenschäftlarn, Germany, as a manufacturer and distributor of gas sensors and sensor modules. The company's products encompass 04-EVAL-01, 4S Sensor Flow Cap, DGM10-Double-Gas-Module, EC4-Br2-5, and EC4-Cl2-5. The products find extensive applications, ranging from monitoring air quality to gas warning systems, in areas such as indoor air quality, smart homes, outdoor air quality, environmental protection, industrial gas monitoring, fire protection, industrial 4.0, and IoT applications. The company serves industries including medical, consumer, and commercial.
OIZOM INSTRUMENTS PVT. LTD., in India in 2015, is a supplier of air monitoring systems. The company's product portfolio includes a comprehensive range of air quality monitoring equipment, including ambient air quality monitors, continuous emission monitoring systems (CEMS), indoor air quality (IAQ) monitors, and gas detection instruments are used to identify and measure a wide range of gases, providing essential data for environmental compliance and workplace safety. it also provides provide advanced data management software and systems that allow real-time data collection, analysis, and reporting.
14 products are listed.