The nanotech company Owlstone, have already been using their Lonestar portable gas analyzers to detect contaminants in crude oil and industrial processes for a number of years. In further developments the sensor has proved useful for detecting signs of digestive diseases and several types of cancers simply be analyzing the patient’s exhaled breath. Krishna Persaud at the University of Manchester has also been monitoring burns victims with the sensor where it can spot early signs of infection. Their long term goal is to integrate the sensor into a Smartphone “The chip already exists, (see photo) and getting it into a phone is straightforward engineering or electronics” said Billy Boyle of Owlstone.

In a similar development the US company Azoi are introducing its Wello Smartphone case this summer. It measures blood pressure, heart rate, blood oxygen levels, temperature and lung function via sensor pads on the case surface. Versions will be available for the iPhone 5 and 5S as well as Android phones with Bluetooth LE running Kitkat. The Wello App stores readings and helps detect long term trends in body functions. The Wello case will retail at £120.