Compact breath sniffer could warn of diabetes

Toshiba's medical breath analyzer can check your fat metabolism

A woman tries a prototype medical breath analyzer developed by Toshiba. The company says it could help detect traces of medical conditions such as diabetes and is quicker and more compact than similar breath analysis machines.

A woman tries a prototype medical breath analyzer developed by Toshiba. The company says it could help detect traces of medical conditions such as diabetes and is quicker and more compact than similar breath analysis machines.

If you're worried about being out of shape, or suspect you might have a disease like diabetes, just breathe into this Toshiba tube.

It's part of a prototype medical breath analyzer that's small enough to be used in small clinics or gyms.

By detecting trace gases that are exhaled, it could be used to monitor health indicators such as fat metabolism and help diagnose disease, Toshiba said.

"The main feature of this analyzer is its compact form," said a spokesman for Toshiba. "It's the size of a personal computer. Previously developed devices were larger and could only be used in facilities such as hospitals."

Another merit is speed, providing analysis results in about 30 seconds, he said.

Some doctors believe that breath analysis could one day be a vital tool for medical testing, along with blood tests and tissue imaging.

Toshiba used gas analysis technologies from its semiconductor and other manufacturing operations to develop the device. An infrared laser shines on the exhalation while a spectrum analysis component checks for telltale signs of organic compounds.

Using a quantum cascade laser, which is a semiconductor laser used in gas analysis, allowed the analyzer to have a small form factor while retaining the accuracy of larger, floor-mounted devices, Toshiba said.

The current version of the device can measure organic compounds such as acetone, which can indicate obesity and diabetes, and acetaldehyde, which is involved in the chemistry of hangovers.

Toshiba plans to improve the analyzer so it will be able to also detect carbon monoxide, methane, nitric monoxide and other constituents to be able to check on conditions such as smoking, intestinal bacteria, asthma and helicobacter pylori, a stomach bacterium linked to ulcers and cancer.

In conjunction with the manufacturer, Waseda University in Tokyo will begin research next month into measuring acetone in exhaled breath in an attempt to measure fat metabolism. The results could yield new approaches to formulating diets and food supplements.

Toshiba said it wants to work with universities and hospitals to pool knowledge of breath analysis for diagnostic and other applications.

It plans to commercialize the analyzer in 2015, first in Japan and possibly overseas in the future, the Toshiba spokesman said.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags popular sciencetoshiba

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Tim Hornyak

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?