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Airborne Toxins Sensor

The article ‘Tiny sensors tucked into cell phones could map airborne toxins in real time’ is a May14, 2010 publication in the ScienceDaily. The article reports about the development of a silicon chip that could be used as a sensor to detect noxious chemicals in the air via mobile phone network. The chip is in the process of development at the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of California, San Diego. By embedding the silicon chip in cell phones, toxins and gases from the atmosphere can be detected and the silicon that acts as a sensor experiences a color change as per the chemical detected.

To be able to detect specific chemical, researchers hope to use different shapes of pores on the silicon chip. The silicon sensor imitates the human nose’s sensory cells such that color changes on the chip help in identifying the existent chemical. So far, the developers of the chip mention that the chip can detect methyl salicylate which can be used as a chemical warfare agent from among many other gases. Using a megapixel camera almost similar to the ones found on cell phones, it is possible to capture changes in color in the silicon chip.

The megapixel camera focuses by the aid of fluid rather than heavy moving parts. The camera is also able to detect millions of sensors at one time and therefore the technology will not be tedious. The article further cites that the sensors are in the process of being developed to sense a variety of chemicals with specific toxic chemicals being a priority. Carbon monoxide is among the most prioritized chemicals that the developers of the silicon chip want to target.

This is because the gas is deadly yet is cannot be smelt in sooty fire thus it poses great danger to firefighters. The sensors would be installed on firefighters’ masks thus prompting them when to use self-contained breathing aids. In the same manner, it would be possible to develop sensors to warn miners about accumulating explosive gases. The content of this article is an excellent reporting about an innovative and groundbreaking technology. The article precisely reports the main points about the development of the silicon chip thus it is an n easy-to-understand article.

The content of the article is intriguing in that although the technology is not in use, the development is a welcome story whose success can be very beneficial in many field of technology. The authors of the silicon chip sensor technology emerge as brilliant in that they utilizing the existent cell phone technology in combination with chemistry to enhance human life and health. It is no doubt breakthrough of this technology would safeguard human beings from warfare gases as well as poisonous gases in the environment.

As stated in the article, the silicon sensor is already promising to firefighters and miners by guaranteeing them safety. This technology is therefore a welcome story and its reporting in this article gives hope about existent of non-hazardous environment in the workplace and in the general environment. Reference University of California – San Diego (2010, May 14). ‘Tiny sensors tucked into cell phones could map airborne toxins in real time. ’ ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 14, 2010, from http://www. sciencedaily. com­ /releases/2010/05/100513093739. htm

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