A high-precision sensor that can detect the possibility of someone having cancer, diabetes and other ailments just from their breath has been developed in a joint project involving the government, the private sector and a university. The product is expected to be put into practical use as early as 2022, it has been learned.

In the future, it may become possible for an individual to easily check their health by connecting a sensor to a smartphone or other device. There are also hopes that the nation’s growing medical expenditures could be curbed by the early detection of disease.

The National Institute for Materials Science (NIMS), based in Tsukuba, Ibaraki Prefecture, played the leading role in developing the small sensor, which is capable of detecting substances in a person’s exhalations with high accuracy by analyzing the odor of the breath. To put this technology into practical use, the institute has been working with Kyocera Corp., NEC Corp., Sumitomo Seika Chemicals Co., Osaka University and a precision equipment maker in Switzerland. FULL REPORT