A NOSE BY ANY OTHER NAME NEWBURY PARK FIRM GEARS UP TO CASH IN ON ELECTRONIC, ODOR-SENSING DEVICE.Byline: Robert Monroe Staff Writer
It's not the kind of job to which applicants flock.
ConAgra Inc. needed a sensor to tell when the stench from its Greeley, Colo., rendering plant was getting too offensive.
Rather than hire some poor sap to sound that alarm, the company turned to Newbury Park's Electronic Sensor Technology, maker of a line of odor-sensing devices called zNose. Now ConAgra is using its new $20,000 machine to create an objective way to measure thresholds of stink. It hopes to stanch stanch 1 also staunch
tr.v. stanched also staunched, stanch·ing also staunch·ing, stanch·es also staunch·es
1. To stop or check the flow of (blood or tears, for example).
2. Greeley's definition of unacceptable stench: The complaints of three or more plant neighbors within a certain time range.
With a technology on the market two years but decades in the making, EST EST electroshock therapy.
electroshock therapy has amassed about 100 industrial clients. Those clients need things like potentially rancid ran·cid
Having the disagreeable odor or taste of decomposing oils or fats.
having a musty, rank taste or smell; applied to fats that have undergone decomposition, with the liberation of fatty acids. orange juice and stick deodorant deodorant /de·odor·ant/ (de-o´der-int)
1. masking offensive odors.
2. an agent that so acts.
n. professionally smelled and analyzed. The zNose line threatens to throw trained human smellers, called panels, out of work.
``There's a wealth of information on those vapors we smell,'' said EST Managing Director Edward Staples, who has the enthusiasm of a young high school chemistry teacher.
Privately held EST joins more than a dozen or so companies with names like Aroma Scan and Cyrano Sciences looking to make electronic sniffing a faster endeavor done on smaller devices. Collectively they could revolutionize food, beverage and cosmetic industries. Sniff tests could stop contaminated beer or incorrectly mixed cosmetics from reaching the market, heading off product recalls and other public relations public relations, activities and policies used to create public interest in a person, idea, product, institution, or business establishment. By its nature, public relations is devoted to serving particular interests by presenting them to the public in the most nightmares.
Indeed the zNose and other e-noses could change any business that produces a product that can produce odor.
That's a lot of products, said Staples, who said he goes crazy analyzing things that companies send to him or that he just gets curious about.
On a lark, he and EST Director of Operations Ken Zeiger took Staples' boat out to the Pacific to test zNose. They were inspired by a legendary line out of the Clint Eastwood film ``Dirty Harry.'' They wanted to see if the zNose could actually tell the difference between five shots fired or six, which the fictional detective forgot about in all the excitement.
Turns out, zNose could smell the difference. The device came up with a different chemical signature, called a ``vaporprint,'' with each shot. It captured molecules from the barrel in a gas chromatograph, a gas sampling device in use for decades and analyzed them in a new device called a surface acoustic wave A surface acoustic wave (SAW) is an acoustic wave traveling along the surface of a material having some elasticity, with an amplitude that typically decays exponentially with the depth of the substrate. detector.
The detector measured the distinct way molecules of different chemicals boiled off its heated surface. It was smelling less of the chemicals in gun cleaning oil and more of the chemicals in gunpowder with each shot as Zeiger emptied his .44 into the ocean.
The company has found wild variations in expensive body creams that can render one jar's contents pleasant and another pungent and irritating to skin. They've even found different smells in bottles of the same brand of drinking water, the stench and bad taste in some coming from inferior plastic of the bottle itself. They've tried to distinguish bad new car smell from good new car smell, toting the hand-held zNose from dealership to dealership at the Thousand Oaks Auto Mall.
The list of smells that can be distinguished goes on: scotch vs. bourbon, 10-year-old scotch vs. 25-year-old scotch, Coke vs. Pepsi - but only Classic Coke, said Staples, because the new Coke formula is too close to Pepsi's.
Ten years ago, it would have been impossible for Staples to analyze things in much faster than a week's time. Industrial clients did it anyway, tediously sending possibly suspect smell source samples to a lab somewhere for analysis. By that time, the culprit chemical could have been making a refinery's neighbors wheeze wheeze (hwez) a whistling type of continuous sound.
To breathe with difficulty, producing a hoarse whistling sound.
A wheezing sound. or sitting in a six-pack in someone's refrigerator.
But benefiting from the general miniaturization min·i·a·tur·ize
tr.v. min·i·a·tur·ized, min·i·a·tur·iz·ing, min·i·a·tur·iz·es
To plan or make on a greatly reduced scale.
min of technology that makes laptop computers and dinky cell phones possible, e-noses can do a workup work·up
n. Abbr. w/u
A thorough medical examination for diagnostic purposes. on the spot. EST claims the zNose is the fastest, performing analyses in 10 seconds, and the only e-nose validated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), independent agency of the U.S. government, with headquarters in Washington, D.C. It was established in 1970 to reduce and control air and water pollution, noise pollution, and radiation and to ensure the safe handling and as a reliable smelling machine. It is available as a hand-held device or counter-top model resembling an amplifier. EST throws in a laptop computer to help customers run zNose.
Observers see advantages of zNose over the competition in its design. Other e-noses smell by using as many as 32 sensors, each trained to smell different molecules. The zNose has one.
``It has the advantage of gas chromatography, which is, you can sense a lot of different chemicals at once,'' said Harry Goldstein, managing editor of Technical Insights, a newsletter for the research and development community.
E-nose technology is going through an acceptance period, said Amy Ryan, a physical chemist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory “JPL” redirects here. For other uses, see JPL (disambiguation).
Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) is a NASA research center located in the cities of Pasadena and La Cañada Flintridge, near Los Angeles, California, USA. in La Canada Flintridge. Some of Ryan's research into analysis of gases on the International Space Station has found its way into the e-noses made by EST competitor Cyrano Sciences.
``They're faster, they're smaller, they're more reliable,'' Ryan said. ``Large customers are trying them out and smaller customers will decide.''
ETS ETS Educational Testing Service (nonprofit private educational testing and measurement organization)
ETS Emergency Telecommunications Service
ETS Electronic Trading System
ETS Engineering (&) Technical Services , with 20 employees, did $500,000 in sales last year and expects to generate about $1.8 million this year. The device could even work its way into homes, smelling concentrations of allergy-causing ragweed ragweed, any plant of the genus Ambrosia, coarse, weedy herbs belonging to the family Asteraceae (aster family), most of which are native to America. They have inconspicuous greenish flowers and soft subdivided leaves. or chemicals given off by the bacteria that make bacon go bad.
A few practical barriers, not the least of which is price, need to be overcome, said Staples, who is more keen on the business potential of the food and beverage F&B is a common abbreviation in the United States and Commonwealth countries, including Hong Kong. F&B is typically the widely accepted abbreviation for "Food and Beverage," which is the sector/industry that specializes in the conceptualization, the making of, and delivery of foods. industry under his nose. At ETS offices are shelves filled with samples from rice to soup that companies have sent to be odor- fingerprinted.
``The potential (market) for an electronic nose that can quantitate quan·ti·tate
tr.v. quan·ti·tat·ed, quan·ti·tat·ing, quan·ti·tates
To determine or measure the quantity of.
[Back-formation from quantitative (analysis). is $100 billion, easy,'' he said. ``How many things can you think of? It's unlimited.''
(1 -- 2 -- color) Edward Staples of Electronic Sensor Technology shows off a hand-held version of zNose, which can detect odors in substances.
Andy Holzman/Staff Photographer