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Gas sensor A nose in your smartphone

A company in canton Zurich has developed a gas sensor that could pave the way for future use in breath analysis or measuring air quality. (SRF/swissinfo.ch)

Sensirion, a company headquartered in Staefa in canton Zurich, presented the world’s first multi-pixel gas sensor at the end of February.

The use of multi-pixel technology enables the microchip to sense its environment for gases through various receptors. The resulting information is then processed with the help of intelligent algorithms and the latest in pattern recognition. This means that, for the first time, a sensor of this size will be capable of detecting and distinguishing between different gases.

The sensors’ very small size makes it particularly suited for use in smartphones, tablets and wearables. Practical applications include measuring blood alcohol content through breath, indoor air quality measurements and identifying allergens in food through their smell.

Sensirion employs 600 people and it specialises in sensor components and solutions. It was founded in 1998 as spin-off of the federal technology institute ETH Zurich.