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Sweat-Detecting Technology To Help Improve Office Atmosphere

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Sweat-Detecting Technology To Help Improve Office Atmosphere

Developers in Japan have released an app and device to help people test whether their sweat is notable to others by monitoring three categories of smell, in a bid to help workers avoid embarrassment in the workplace.

The tiny detector, which resembles a tape recorder, is Bluetooth-enabled and works with smartphones to subtly inform the user if their sweat is reaching odorous levels which may bother those around them. The firm Konica Minolta, best known for making printers, film and digital SLR cameras, believes there is a big market for the app in Japan because people are 'particularly sensitive to smell'. Indeed, the Japanese language has a specific word for office workers whose odour irritates those around them: sumehara, otherwise known as 'smell harassment'.

sweat
sweat

Credit: Flickr/rocksee (Creative Commons)

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The device, meanwhile, is called Kunkun Body, taking its name from the Japanese word for sniff. Daisuke Koda, incubation lead at Konica Minolta Japan's business innovation centre, said the idea came into development following a talk he had with male colleagues, most of them aged 40 or thereabouts. Talking about the stiflingly hot summer heat in Japan, they admitted to one another that they each experienced a fear of how they smelled.

"We looked for a device to measure body smell, only to find that there was no device at all to tell the different types of smells," said Koda, speaking to the Guardian. "That prompted us to think it might be an opportunity for a new business and we continued our research further deeper." He added that smell was the primary concern regarding etiquette in the Japanese workplace, but that people found it difficult to raise the subject when another colleague smelled bad, making the invention a potentially valuable resource for workers and allowing for the problem to be addressed without breaking decorum.

sweat
sweat

Credit: PA

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The device is able to test for smells in four places: behind the ear, under the arms, close to the head and around the feet, and is priced around £206 to those who buy now and become its earliest users.

Another company focussing on sweat, meanwhile, is Kenzen. Based in San Francisco, California, Kenzen has developed a smart patch which continuously analyses sweat to monitor performance during sport, but also to pick up on any potential threats to vital signs, detect health conditions, help prevent injury and provide updates on the user's overall condition.

Words: Ronan O'Shea

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: Smartphone, app

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