A group of Japanese researchers has developed a device capable of detecting trace amounts of gas emitted from human skin and projecting it on a screen.
The group is led by Professor Koji Mitsubayashi at the Tokyo Medical and Dental University.
The researchers started their work by looking into the small amount of gas emitted by skin that is produced when blood components vaporize.
They then developed a sensor using a type of enzyme capable of connecting with the gas.
When the sensor detects the gas, it shines a blue light. The imaging device catches this light and produces a real-time image on screen.
The group says the device had successfully produced an image of gas being emitted from the palm of a person who had consumed alcohol.
The researchers say the device can be used to detect substances emanating from the skin of diabetes and cancer patients, and could help with early detection.
Mitsubayashi says a simple test, such as holding a hand up to the device, would be enough to detect an illness.
He says his group hopes to enhance the effectiveness of the sensor so it can accurately detect even the smallest amounts of gas.