The Noze Knows: How Smell will Redefine Healthcare

Team Noze
August 10, 2023

Using Scent to Diagnose Disease

Smell has been used as a powerful tool in disease diagnostics by humans for centuries. Ancient Greek and Chinese civilizations used it to detect infectious diseases like tuberculosis. Soldiers on battlefields, ripe with conditions for the development of flesh-eating diseases, used it to detect gangrene. And emergency rooms throughout history have relied on it to recognize diabetic ketoacidosis. But this is just the tip of the iceberg. Scent detection, if harnessed properly, can change the world of disease screening and diagnostics forever.  

In the natural world, animals astound us with their ability to detect diseases through smell. Studies have proven that diseases emit unique odors in the form of volatile compounds. Dogs, for instance, can detect the distinct odor associated with epileptic seizures, while wound infections release a telltale "fruity" scent. Astonishingly, animals' smelling abilities often rival or surpass standard diagnostic methods.

What are Electronic Noses (eNoses)?

Enter electronic noses (eNoses), designed to emulate this superhuman sense of smell. ENoses were first used in the 1980s, but their application in disease diagnostics is fairly new. Their potential as a medical screening tool for our health, however, is promising. Our bodies release distinct odor signatures in our breath and sweat, providing invaluable insights into our health. Diseases leave behind specific odors that can be powerful diagnostic indicators. For example, the breath of diabetic patients carries the scent of acetone, while those with liver failure emit a distinctive sulfuric aroma.

Early Disease Screening with eNoses

The true power of scent detection with eNoses lies in early disease screening. Traditional screening methods are invasive, costly, and often delayed due to outdated protocols. And compared to scent detection by animals, eNoses are clearly more favorable due to their scalability, simple operation, and low cost. 

But what if scent detection could offer accessible point-of-care screening worldwide? Early detection drastically improves patient outcomes and reduces healthcare costs. Shockingly, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveals that Americans receive only half of the necessary preventive care, including crucial screenings.

Consider the impact on lung cancer. A Stage 1 diagnosis offers a 64% chance of survival in five years, whereas Stage 4 plummets to a devastating 8%. Limited access to screening significantly decreases survival rates and strains healthcare systems. As another example, the World Health Organization emphasizes the importance of early malaria screening, as symptoms can often be mild and nonspecific. Scent-based screening acts as an essential warning signal for prompt further testing, preventing disease progression.

Transcending eNoses: Noze’s AI-Powered Odor Perception Technology

Here at Noze, we've advanced olfactory sensory technology by integrating a layer of AI into our digital olfaction platform. The result is a cutting-edge odor perception platform driven by advanced AI algorithms. Our groundbreaking technology accurately detects and tracks odors with remarkable precision. By unlocking the digital sense of smell, we create boundless possibilities to enhance human health. And we're not alone in envisioning a future where scent-based diagnostics becomes the new gold standard of care. Our $1 Million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation validates the recognition of this groundbreaking potential by prominent healthcare leaders.


The future of healthcare lies in digital olfaction for disease screening and diagnostics. Developing advanced digital olfaction platforms for rapid early screening and diagnosis of diseases will impact the lives of hundreds of millions of people, maybe even billions. We're exhilarated to play a pivotal role in transforming this vision into reality. Stay tuned for what's next—we're about to revolutionize the way we screen diseases.