A new portable sensor system detects airborne organic chemicals about as accurately as a $25,000 machine confined to a lab. The device’s sensor element (above) holds an array of polymers deposited between capacitance plates; their ability to store electrical charge changes in specific ways when certain molecules are absorbed, enabling the device to identify those agents. The system incorporates a polymer called BSP3, invented at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, that is especially responsive to compounds such as nerve agents and certain pesticides.
Credit: Bruce Peterson
Product: SeaPORT SC-210
Cost: About $3,000
Company: Seacoast Science
Other products in this section:
Old-fashioned silicon might be the key to building ubiquitous quantum computers
Silicon isn’t yet ideal for creating quantum machines. But the massive manufacturing ecosystem for silicon chips explains why researchers (and Intel) want to overcome its handicaps.
“We’re in a diversity crisis”: cofounder of Black in AI on what’s poisoning algorithms in our lives
Timnit Gebru looks around the AI world and sees almost no one who looks like her. That’s a problem for all of us.
Drones that dodge obstacles without guidance can pursue you like paparazzi
A skilled autopilot function will make drones far more ubiquitous and useful.