NASA’s cheap, low-power device senses chemicals with help from a “sample jet” and a silicon-based sensing chip that has 16 nanosensors. Once detection data is confirmed, the phone can send it on to any other device — or the government — via Wi-Fi.
There are a number of uses for the chemical sensor: it could provide early information on a chemical attack, confirm suspicions of methane emissions from local factories, or just give users information about the chemicals present in their everyday environments.
The chemical sniffer isn’t NASA’s first foray into iPhone apps. The agency recently debuted an app that aggregates and sends recent information, pictures, and video from NASA to the user’s phone. Here’s hoping NASA continues to deliver educational and useful apps to our cell phones!
by Ariel Schwartz, 11/12/09