A very interesting article in Scientific American discusses how olfactory sensors may revolutionize medicine. A snippet is below.
Engineers are developing electronic versions of the human nose that will allow doctors, ever in search of less-invasive techniques, to tap into what the nose knows about the human body.
"The sense of smell has been used as a medical diagnostic tool for thousands of years," says Bill Hanson, an anesthesiologist and critical care specialist at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, who has studied whether odor can be used to diagnose an ailment. "Both diseases and bacteria that cause diseases have individual and unique odors. You can walk into a patient’s room and know immediately in some cases that the patient has such and such bacteria just because of the odor."