A prototype breathalyzer developed by researchers from NTT DoCoMo research laboratories in Japan tells users whether their exercise is working and their body is burning fat. The pocket-sized sensor measures levels of acetone on the breath and could help people determine which types of exercise are effective in terms of fat loss.
Phys Org reports that the new device is capable of detecting acetone concentrations in the range of 0.2 to 50 parts-per-million. It consists of a pressure sensor to detect the exhaled breath and two types of semiconductor-based gas sensors to detect acetone. After a user blows into the device, the acetone levels can be calculated and sent to a smartphone within 10 seconds.
In a study, the researchers recruited 17 healthy adult volunteers to test the device. They were split into three groups, one group carried on with their normal life, another was required to take part in light exercise for 30-60 minutes a day, and the third group was required to do this exercise and also consume a limited number of calories each day.
The volunteers’ body weight, body fat percentage and breath acetone concentrations were measured every day. After 14 days the volunteers in the first two groups were not able to lose significant amounts of fat and their breath acetone concentrations remained constant. Those in the third group were able to lose significant amounts of fat and their breath acetone concentrations were increased significantly.