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Sony’s machine quickly measures a person’s sense of smell. (Photo courtesy of Sony)

TOKYO — Sony plans to offer an early warning system for signs of dementia and Parkinson’s disease with a machine that quickly measures an individual’s sense of smell.

The olfactory device unveiled Wednesday by Sony Group’s core unit goes on sale next spring, initially for research purposes rather than as medical equipment. The price is estimated at 2.3 million yen ($15,900)

“We hope the new technology will help enhance people’s healthy life,” said Osamu Hajimoto, deputy president of new business and technology development at Sony.

Olfactory tests are less common than vision and hearing screenings as they generally involve preparing the odorants as well as a dedicated room or deodorant device.

Sony’s machine features a system dubbed Tensor Valve that easily controls odorants and seals in strong scents. Aromas in the device can be eliminated quickly as well. Smell screenings would take as little as five to 10 minutes. Sony plans to provide the results on a scale of one to eight.

People tend to exhibit a decline in their sense of smell before developing dementia or Parkinson’s disease, according to Sony. An accurate olfactory test could provide early detection of a decline in neurological functions, the company said.

Sony could also look into the machine’s applications in the entertainment field, Hajimoto said.

Source: Sony device tests sense of smell to sniff out signs of dementia – Nikkei Asia