A new method for manufacturing sensors that detect toxic materials has been developed at Ohio State University.
Researchers at the university have made use of the unusual electrical conductance of nickel oxide, which changes when toxic chemicals settle on its surface.
They have incorporated the electrical responses into a sensor that works along similar principles to the human nose.
Patricia Morris, associate professor of materials science and engineering at the university, said the devices have a range of potential applications.
"These are sensors that a soldier could wear on the battlefield, or a first responder could wear to an accident at a chemical plant," she commented.
Other uses could include exhaust, pollution and air quality monitoring in municipal areas, it has been suggested.
Engineers at Ohio State University recently designed a software control system which allows jets to fly unmanned at the speed of sound.