US mobile wireless sensor developer Gentag has been awarded a patent which covers the use of sensors in a phone, PDA, watch, or pager to detect noxious fumes and warn the user.
The company does not expect the patent (7,109.859: Method and Apparatus for Wide Area Surveillance of a Terrorist or Personal Threat) to be used solely to alert users of chemical attack, but also high pollen levels, or anything else the owner may be intolerant of.
It might seem that the runny nose, blurry eyes and difficulty breathing would be indication enough of an allergy attack, and that a bleeping phone is the last thing you need at that moment, but with sensitive enough detection technology it should be possible to provide a warning before the symptoms kick in.
At this stage this is a broad patent covering what some might consider an obvious development, and it will be years before we see the technology in a device, if ever. ®