Get a whiff of this: Sony device measuring sense of smell may help diagnose Parkinson’s, dementia

The Yomiuri Shimbun
A man measures his sense of smell using a device developed by Sony Corp. in Minato Ward, Tokyo.

Sony Corp. will begin selling a device to medical and research institutions in spring next year that can measure an individual’s sense of smell by emitting 40 different odors.

Since the device makes olfactory measurement easy, it is expected to be useful in the early detection of Parkinson’s disease and dementia. A person’s sense of smell is believed to decline due to both diseases.

The device, which measures about 40 centimeters in length and width, emits five types of odors, including sweet and stinky, at eight different strength levels through a hole in the top.

People sniff these odors and select what they think they smelled on a tablet. The device is expected to be sold for around ¥2.3 million.

According to Sony, conventional olfactory measurement requires a special environment equipped with deodorizing functions to prevent odor leaks affecting the test. Thanks to built-in technology to control air flow, however, the new device enables smells to be easily controlled.