UBC Okanagan engineering professor Mina Hoofar uses her ‘artificial nose’ technology to develop a roadside breathalyzer that can identify THC in breath molecules. (Photo: UBC Okanagan University Relations)

UBC Okanagan researchers develop roadside cannabis breathalyzers

Breath detection devices for high drivers soon to be in the hands of law enforcement

Researchers at UBC Okanagan will soon supply law enforcement with technology for roadside breathalyzers that can identify tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main component found in cannabis.

Engineering professor Mina Hoorfar has been working on a device using ‘artificial nose’ technology which uses microfabrication appliances that can detect hazardous molecules, in this case THC. Hoorfar runs the university’s Advanced Thermo-Fluidic Lab and has collaborated with Cannabix Technologies to commercialize a marijuana breathalyzer.

“We have responded to a need from regulators in North America to develop tools to accurately monitor THC and the artificial nose lends itself to this application,” said Hoorfar. “Advances in microfabrication and nanotechnologies are enabling us to work at a smaller scale and with improved sensitivity.”

READ MORE: Kelowna singer Scotty Berg to perform the national anthem at Canucks game in March

READ MORE: West Kelowna Warriors’ charity ringette game to benefit young superfan

A study of five leading styles of THC breathalyzers that are under development or being commercialized was done at UBC Okanagan, where a doctoral student Hamed Mirzaei analyzed the difficult science of breath sensors.

“Despite its large potential, breath analysis still has several technical difficulties,” said Mirzaei.

“A healthy person can exhale a complex mixture of inorganic gases and many of these chemicals are from sources such as smoking, food consumption, bacterial microflora, work environments and medication.”

READ MORE: Dangerous driving sentence expected to be complicated after 11-year-old B.C. girl left unresponsive

According to Hoorfar, everything from diet, age, body mass and gender can influence the composition of a person’s breath and can affect how well the breathalyzer sensors work. Hoorfar notes that THC is a tricky molecule in itself to work with due to its concentrations in breath can be quite low, estimated at 250 parts per trillion.

But, as cannabis becomes more used, Hoorfar said this type of technology is even more needed.

“With legalization of cannabis consumption in Canada and many parts of the U.S.A, it is vital to create and improve technologies for public safety and awareness,” said Hoorfar.

“Breath analysis is not only the fastest technology available but it’s also a reliable and portable method to detect recent cannabis use and impairment. We just need to create the perfect device.”

For more information on the research at UBC Okanagan, visit here.

To report a typo, email:
newstips@kelownacapnews.com
.


@KelownaCapNews
newstips@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

research

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Morning Start: Big Bertha is the oldest cow to ever live

Your morning start for Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Police search for suspect in early-morning assault downtown Kelowna

Kelowna police received a report a woman had been assaulted by an unknown man on July 12

Kelowna glider pilot crashes in the Columbia Valley

The Transportation Safety Board is investigating the circumstances of the crash

Gun enthusiasts arrive in Kelowna for the Western Canadian Skeet Championship

The competition will be held from July 17-19, 2020 in Joe Rich

$10,000 to support LGBTQIA2S+ youth in the Okanagan

The endowment has been provided by the First West Foundation

B.C. records 62 new COVID-19 cases, two deaths since Friday

Province has just over 200 active cases

Hitchhiker with metal pipe prompts RCMP to close of Highway 1 near Salmon Arm

Police respond to report of man who pointed what was believed to be a rifle at passing driver

Canadians torn on scaling back COVID-19 benefits to save money: poll

Of those surveyed, 78 per cent said they were worried about the size of the deficit

Summerland approves solar project

Despite community opposition, council voted 4-3 for Cartwright Mountain location

‘Trauma equals addiction’: Why some seek solace in illicit drugs

Part 2: Many pushed into addiction by ‘toxic stress,’ says White Rock psychologist

Hotel rooms for B.C. homeless too hasty, NDP government told

Businesses forced out, but crime goes down, minister says

Two positive COVID-19 cases at Oliver farm

The risk of exposure to the general public related to this farm is considered to be low

Oliver Town Hall closed to public as staffer displays COVID-19 symptoms

One staff member at Oliver Town Hall is being tested for coronavirus

Wage subsidy will be extended until December amid post-COVID reopening: Trudeau

Trudeau said the extension will ‘give greater certainty and support to businesses’

Most Read