This "electronic nose" sniffs out bedbugs

A former mechanical engineer by the name of Chris Goggin has designed a device capable of detecting bedbugs – which will no doubt bring a huge sigh of relief to those who awake with itchy red spots.

As you may recall, bedbug attacks began increasing exponentially in the US almost a decade ago. Unfortunately, finding the bugs can be very difficult as they hide in cracks and folds and don’t respond to poison baits or bombs.

As such, exterminators are often forced to detect their exact location to destroy them, but this can sometimes take up to one hour for a single room.

In contrast, Goggin’s device needs only 15 minutes to seek the bedbugs out.

Bed Bug Detective works just like a dog nose – but better.

For example, bedbugs use pheromones to communicate and dogs detect the scent they leave behind. Unfortunately, dogs can only detect an infestation within a few feet.

In addition, man’s best friend cannot tell the difference between male and female pheromones, nor can it detect bedbugs’ methane and carbon dioxide emissions. Moreover, bedbug detecting dogs are expensive; with training and care for a single canine costing between $30,000-$70,000.

At $200, Bed Bug Detective is far, far cheaper and more accurate. The device utilizes a wand to suck in air, which is then analyzed by three sensors to detect scent signature. A color code lets users know when they are approaching or retreating from the bedbug scent source.

Goggin’s electronic nose is also capable of detecting bedbug CO2 and methane emission, while distinguishing between male and female pheromones. In addition, the device can locate the infestation within one square inch.

Bed Bug Detective will hit the stores in 2011 with a $200 price tag. Its inventor is already working on a new model designed to detect ants, mice and cockroaches.

[Via Popular Science]