Friday, September 4, 2009

Is there a scientific way to measure fart smell?

Actually yes, there is. Introducing Robert Clain and Miguel Salas; they're two Cornell University computer-engineering whizzes who built such a machine for their senior project. After learning how breathalyzers work, they assembled a fart detector from a sensitive hydrogen sulfide monitor, a thermometer, and a microphone and wrote the software that would rate the fart. A “slight perturbance in the air” near the detector sets it to work measuring the three pillars of fart quality: stench, temperature and sound.

Temperature, Clain explains, is critical. The hotter a fart, the faster it spreads. “It beeps faster if it’s a high ranker, and a voice rates it on a scale of zero to nine,” he says. “If it ranks a nine, a fan comes on to blow it away. It even records the noise so you can play it back later.”

"The contraption could even have use outside of fraternity houses," Clain says, as a biosensor for harmful hydrogen-sulfide-producing bacteria in hospitals. Or dentists could use it to measure oral malodor. They’ve also received some interest from doctors with four-legged patients. “You can test the health of livestock through the quality of their farts,” Salas says. “Smell and sound can tell you a lot about their bowel movements.”

Read more about it HERE

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