Future applications of electronic-nose technologies in healthcare and biomedicine
The development and utilization of many new electronic-nose (e-nose) applications in the healthcare and biomedical fields have continued to rapidly accelerate over the past 20 years. Innovative e-nose technologies are providing unique solutions to a diversity of complex problems in biomedicine that are now coming to fruition. A wide range of electronic-nose instrument types, based on different operating principles and mechanisms, has facilitated the creation of different types and categories of medical applications that take advantage of the unique strengths and advantages of specific sensor types and sensor arrays of different individual instruments. Electronic-nose applications have been developed for a wide range of healthcare sectors including diagnostics, immunology, pathology, patient recovery, pharmacology, physical therapy, physiology, preventative medicine, remote healthcare, and wound and graft healing. E-nose biomedical applications range from biochemical testing, blood compatibility, disease diagnoses, drug purity, monitoring metabolic levels, organ dysfunction, and telemedicine. This review summarizes some of the key technological developments of electronic-nose technologies, arising from past and recent biomedical research, and identifies a variety of future e-nose applications currently under development which have great potential to advance the effectiveness and efficiency of biomedical treatments and healthcare services for many years. A concise synthesis of the major electronic-nose technologies developed for healthcare and medical applications since the 1980s is provided along with a detailed assessment and analysis of future potential advances in electronic aroma detection (EAD) technologies that will provide effective solutions to newly-emerging problems in the healthcare industry. These new e-nose solutions will provide greatly improved quality controls for healthcare decisions and diagnoses as well as badly needed final confirmations of appropriate patient treatments. The purpose of this chapter is to provide some detailed insights into current and future e-nose applications that will yield a variety of new solutions to detection-related tasks and difficult problems in the fields of healthcare and biomedicine. The uses of electronic-noses for quality control (QC) and quality assurance (QA) issues, associated with numerous diagnostic-testing activities conducted within the medical field, also are discussed.