TOKYO -- Dust mites, pollen, pet hair and dandruff are just a few of the allergens that can trigger an allergy attack in the home.
But when the eyes water and the coughing starts, what are the possible culprits? If airborne, where in the room are they concentrated? An easy answer may soon be at hand, thanks to a sensor device developed by a research team at the Tokyo Medical and Dental University led by professor Kohji Mitsubayashi.
Fitted to a vacuum cleaner or air purifier, the device can continuously monitor for allergens in the air, classifying them and measuring their amounts. As the air passes through the device, a pair of filters capture allergens so they can be dissolved in water and reacted with antibodies for identification by an optical sensor.
In tests, the university team had demonstrated the device's ability to work for up to six continuous minutes at a time, measuring even trace amounts of allergens like the carcasses of dust mites. It plans to partner with a firm to develop a commercial version.