Portable sensors for breath analysis

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Description

Human breath is a concoction of thousands of compounds having in it a breath-print of physiological processes in the body. Though breath provides a non-invasive and easy to handle biological

Human breath is a concoction of thousands of compounds having in it a breath-print of physiological processes in the body. Though breath provides a non-invasive and easy to handle biological fluid, its analysis for clinical diagnosis is not very common. Partly the reason for this absence is unavailability of cost effective and convenient tools for such analysis. Scientific literature is full of novel sensor ideas but it is challenging to develop a working device, which are few. These challenges include trace level detection, presence of hundreds of interfering compounds, excessive humidity, different sampling regulations and personal variability. To meet these challenges as well as deliver a low cost solution, optical sensors based on specific colorimetric chemical reactions on mesoporous membranes have been developed. Sensor hardware utilizing cost effective and ubiquitously available light source (LED) and detector (webcam/photo diodes) has been developed and optimized for sensitive detection. Sample conditioning mouthpiece suitable for portable sensors is developed and integrated. The sensors are capable of communication with mobile phones realizing the idea of m-health for easy personal health monitoring in free living conditions. Nitric oxide and Acetone are chosen as analytes of interest. Nitric oxide levels in the breath correlate with lung inflammation which makes it useful for asthma management. Acetone levels increase during ketosis resulting from fat metabolism in the body. Monitoring breath acetone thus provides useful information to people with type1 diabetes, epileptic children on ketogenic diets and people following fitness plans for weight loss.