Airbus intends to deploy a ‘jellyfish-like’ device that has been created by a Silicon Valley neurotech startup by the name of Koniku Inc. This device relies on living biological cells for sniffing out dangerous chemicals and bombs at the airport. These electronic noses might even be capable of detecting contagious viruses such as COVID-19.
The futuristic technology works by mixing living cells with microprocessors. This unique combination is then used for sniffing out explosives. Koniku Inc. has created these revolutionary sensors that can be attached to surfaces not only in airport terminals but also the aircraft.
Oshiorenoya Agabi, the founder of Koniku Inc., said, ‘We have developed a technology that is able to detect smell — it’s breathing the air, and it’s essentially telling you what’s in the air. What we do is we take biological cells, either Hek cells or astrocytes — brain cells — and we genetically modify them to have olfactory receptors.’ A rendition put forth by Airbus also shows the devices being placed at the overhead bins at the front of the aircraft to ensure enhanced detection.
Several odor-detection sensors shall be placed in a few airport screening tunnels by the end of this year and Airbus and Koniku Inc. will commence live testing. The sensors, as of right now, are in the prototype stage. The announcement comes at a time when a particular pandemic has surrounded the world and has left the aviation industry paralyzed. Airlines are scrambling to find a way to restore confidence to travelers. The electronic noses just might hold the solution to this situation.
Odor detection is already employed for the sake of detection in aviation security. The electronic noses by Koniku Inc. simply build upon the conventional technique. We are hopeful that these electronic noses will prove to be successful. All the best to Koniku Inc. and Airbus in this endeavor!