It can be a bit difficult to tell if you're a bit stinky sometimes. As a general rule if you can smell yourself, everyone else has been able to detect your nasty odour for a while. But what if your gadgets could warn you if you've been spending a bit too much time away from the shower? Future iPhones and Apple Watches might well be able to give you a subtle nudge, and make sure you don't go out smelling like you rolled around the local landfill on a hot day.
How you ask? Well a newly-discovered patent (via Cult of Mac) involves adding chemical sensors to Apple gadgets, and using artificial intelligence to detect the ones commonly associated with certain smells. That's the simple explanation anyway, and patents being patents they have to go into all sorts of detail using fancy words only a copyright lawyer would dream of using:
A portable communication device, the device comprising: one or more sensors; a pair of electrodes associated with each sensor of the one or more sensors; and a processing circuit configured to apply a bias supply voltage to the pair of electrodes and to process output signals from the one or more sensors, wherein: each sensor of the one or more sensors comprises an ionic liquid sensor tuned for sensing a smell associated with a chemical species, and the processing circuit further comprises an artificial intelligence engine configured to enhance smell recognition capabilities of the device.
Of course there are plenty of sensible reasons why this might be useful, like detecting gas leaks or warning you that the neighbour's cat is hiding inside your wall. The patent also describes a system of detecting how much of a specific chemical is in the air, and therefore telling you how dangerous everything is. A bit like a more advanced version of the air quality sensor in the CAT S61.
But, of course, it could have the added advantage of warning people who desperately need to realise deodorant is not really an optional extra in the game of life. Or the people who think that spraying themselves with gag-worthy levels of Lynx makes up for the fact they don't have a personality.
Let's just keep these devices from the places where body odours tend to congregate, like trading card tournaments and gyms. Assuming, of course, it ever gets implemented. Not all patents do, after all.[USPTO via Cult of Mac]