A new range of sensors have been launched that can detect the presence of substances, gases and bacteria.
Developed by scientists at the University of North Florida (UNF), the quartet of sensors can make the distinction by "sniffing" the air or coming into contact with a chemical, Jacksonville.com reports.
The new technology could be used to inform surgeons when staph bacteria is present on their operating tables, detect lung cancer on a patient's breath, locate spoiled food before it is sent to a supermarket or find pollutants in lakes and streams.
One sensor has already been granted a patent and the other three have patents pending.
David Hayes, director of the UNF business school's Coggin Pilot Project for Innovation, said: "It's an easy sell for us to say: 'Look at this technology and what it could do for the health community.' So let's push it out."
In related news, industry analyst NanoMarkets recently forecast that revenues from printed sensors are set to increase and could top $6 billion (£3.6 billion) by 2016.