June 21st, 2021—
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for widespread diagnostic services that can be taken at home, especially those that relate to smell as the loss of that sense is an associated virus side effect. One team from Malmö University and Stockholm University in Sweden has come up with a system they call “Exerscent” that allows patients to test their sense of smell at home using a series of tagged odors that can be adapted over time.
Exerscent uses an Arduino Uno and an MFRC522 NFC reader module to scan various vials of scented liquids and transmit that information to a laptop running the team’s software. Once a smell has been selected, the software guides users on not only which scent to smell first, but also how to handle them. These instructions could include commands such as where to place the vial, how far away it should be from their nose, and what to do once finished.
In the researchers’ study, they had a participant attempt to identify 48 different scents across a 16-day period. Over this time, the subject’s accuracy increased from 81% to 96%, which showcases how powerful this system can be for at-home testing. You can read more about the Exerscent in their paper here.
Images: Niedenthal, S. et al. (2021) ‘A Method for Computerized Olfactory Assessment and Training Outside of Laboratory or Clinical Settings,’ i-Perception. doi: 10.1177/20416695211023953.