I cannot stand snot. That is one of the grossest things on earth. Ya, I know, little kids have a hard time to blow their poor little noses. It's the worst when they don't sniff it up and it bubbles out, eeks!!! Ever had that experience, too bad then, it is a work and a wonder for sure. Have a wonderful day, great life, good health.
By the way, I think my husband fixed my computer, was a lot of work, but maybe the gateway timeout has now gone by the wayside. I am still typing and it seems OK. Yeah!!!! Maybe picture day tomorrow. We'll see.
Speaking of good ole' fashioned snot, I heard about some type of sniffer used to detect contraband at airports and other security areas. As it turns out, they were able to increase the sensitivity of the thing by incorporating "artificial mucus"
* 18:01 25 April 2007
* NewScientist.com news service
* Tom Simonite
A substance that mimics mucus has been used by UK researchers to improve the performance of odour-sensing "electronic noses". The enhanced devices can pick apart more complex smells, the team says.
Humans detect smells using more than 100 million specialised receptors on the roof of the nasal cavity, just behind the bridge of the nose. The complex manner in which multiple receptors react to a molecule is used to identify and differentiate them.
Electronic smell sensors work on the same principal but have just tens of sensors. They are used commercially, in food manufacturing quality control, for example, and can sometimes even detect diseases like cancer.
But electronic noses are far less sensitive than biological ones. This is partly because the receptors in a human nose are covered in a thin layer of mucus, which helps them detect scents.
This layer of mucus dissolves scents and separates their components chemically, using chromatography. Different odour molecules then reach receptors at slightly varied times. As a result, the receptors have another way to distinguish between compounds.
Julian Gardner and colleagues at Warwick University, UK, along with researchers at Leicester University, UK, created an artificial mucus layer to mimic this process.
The team placed a 10-micron-thick layer of polymer - normally used to separate gases - over a line of 40 electronic sensors, within a 2.4-metre-long channel. A variety of different odours were then passed through the channel and statistical analysis of the sensors' output was used to try and differentiate the smells.
Tests ranged from simple compounds like ethanol and toluene vapour, to more complex ones like peppermint and vanilla. The results show that the mucus substitute boosted performance significantly.
For example, the sensor would not normally be able to distinguish between the smell of milk and banana. But, with the mucus layer, it can tell these odours apart by analysing the time it takes for different chemical components to arrive.
"We believe that exploiting this approach could lead to significant improvement in the capability of a new generation of e-noses," the researchers write in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society A. "Such a system would offer faster analysis times â€¦ and be able to identify simple and complex odours better than current e-nose instruments."
Anthony Turner at Cranfield University, UK, who is working on using e-noses to detect tuberculosis for the World Health Organisation, is impressed. "This team has pioneered this field for years," he told New Scientist, "it sounds like an exciting new approach."
Turner adds that the study shows the importance of continuing to take inspiration from biology. "It's important to keep learning from it," he says.