Smart Portable Olfactometer for Quantitative and Rapid Detection of COVID-19 and Anosmic Patients

Tech ID: 21-015

Inventors: Nosang Myung, Sooyoun Yu, Thien-Toan Tran, Hyunmin Yang

Date Added: October 27, 2020


Hand-held, self-diagnostic tool for COVID-19 and anosmic patients in point of care (POC) environments.

Technology Summary

21 015 Graphic

There have been millions of cases and hundreds of thousands of deaths due to COVID-19 world-wide. COVID testing methods have multiple drawbacks including tediousness and lag in results. One of the challenges of COVID-19 has been the variation of symptoms in patients and the similarity of the symptoms to other illnesses, thus making it more difficult to differentiate, detect, and ultimately contain the spread of the virus. For example, temperature checks are not reliable as individuals often test positive without ever experiencing a fever. However, one symptom that is most common amongst all COVID-19 infected individuals is loss of smell. In fact, up to 98% of afflicted people experience some loss of smell (anosmia) indicating that this symptom could be a greater indicator of COVID-19 infection rather than fever. State-of-the-art olfactometers are poor candidates for point of care (POC) testing due to its cumbersome and complicated nature. There exists a need for a smart device that can perform POC COVID-19 testing in a fast, reliable manner.

Researchers at the University of Notre Dame have created a smart, self-diagnostic, compact olfactometer for multifaceted detection of COVID-19. This technology is more accurate than the UPSIT and Sniffin Sticks tests which are subjective, qualitative, and prone to human errors. Odorants at precisely controlled concentrations are delivered to the user in between air purges, and the user can identify which odorant they smell through a smart device interface which wirelessly communicates with the olfactometer. The degree of loss of sense of smell is measured based on the number of correct detections by the user. Simultaneously, the neural response by EEG is collected can add to the multifaceted detection of anosmia, thus increasing the accuracy of the diagnosis while decreasing human error. The compact, user-friendly design of the device can not only test for anosmia in a patient for diagnosis, but also the progression of the symptom while they stay in quarantine. This quick, diagnostic tool for anosmic symptoms could help mitigate the spread from asymptomatic carriers of COVID-19.

Market Advantages

  • Smart, compact, and user-friendly
  • Low cost
  • Fast and easy


Additional screening strategy for COVID-19

Technology Readiness Level

TRL 2- Technology Concept Formulated


Richard Cox