There is such a thing as an electronic nose: technology that can detect gases and specify aromas. They can detect dangerous conditions of the “canary in a coal mine” variety, find hidden dead bodies, and analyze tastes. But the technology is bulky, expensive, and slow.
Environmental analysis of that sort is one of those things that would be an obvious application for wearables if it had occurred to you. It occurred to Bruno Thuillier, a former Siemens mobile phone exec, and he’s founded a brand new company called BoydSense. The company’s so new that the web site isn’t up yet.
In a conversation with WTI at Mobile World Congress, Thuillier said he is working with Alpha MOS, the industry leader in these sorts of sensors, to get the size, power requirements, and processing speeds of the relevant sensors to a point that could be incorporated into a wrist device. Current sensors are about 5mm square; Thullier wants them at about 2mm square and produced using MEMS technology. (The smallest six-axis accelerometers are about 1mm square.)
Industrial and environmental applications are pretty obvious. But Thullier hopes that his sensors and algorithms would be able to, for instance, analyze breath to detect effective exercise or diet, or to proactively discover health problems.
Thullier doesn’t expect to make his own devices, but rather license the technology he’s developing to device makers. And don’t expect this anytime soon: the timeline for first product is about a year out — and the better one probably won’t hit until 2017,