A report from the poot sector

While the rest of the world agonizes over carbon dioxide, a couple of Cornell students are quantifying a far more horrible gas:

After learning in class how breathalyzers work, Robert Clain and Miguel Salas assembled a fart detector from a sensitive hydrogen sulfide monitor, a thermometer and a microphone and wrote the software that would rate the emission. A “slight perturbance in the air” near the detector sets it to work measuring the three pillars of fart quality: stench, temperature and sound. Temperature, Clain explains, is critical. The hotter a fart, the faster it spreads. “It beeps faster if it’s a high ranker, and a voice rates it on a scale of zero to nine,” he says. “If it ranks a nine, a fan comes on to blow it away. It even records the noise so you can play it back later.” After a few months of construction, they began field tests. “Well, the sample data wasn’t the entire school, but we definitely tested it,” Salas says.

“High ranker,” I suspect, would describe rather a lot of air biscuits, the majority of which are highly rank, though I infer that the classic SBD excels at only two of the three basic criteria.

Jumpin’ Jack Flash was not available for comment.

(Sniffed out by Jeffro.)


  1. Lynn »

    6 September 2009 · 9:35 pm

    This is what happens when you spend too much time watching Mythbusters.

  2. McGehee »

    6 September 2009 · 9:52 pm

    I’d want one that, instead of turning on a fan, emits ignition sparks.

  3. CGHill »

    6 September 2009 · 9:56 pm

    Now that’s downright incendiary.

  4. fillyjonk »

    7 September 2009 · 8:13 am

    In the post following this one, you commented on physics/chemistry ability “repelling” women. I know at least a few women who would be attracted by the skill and innovation of these guys (though I probably know more who would be repelled by it). Myself, I’m on the fence. The part of me that is still 12 is giggling over it; the part of me that is more grown up is rolling her eyes a bit.

  5. CGHill »

    7 September 2009 · 9:13 am

    You think I position these things purely at random? The post preceding this one had to do with mirth in the workplace.

    The only way I get away with that, of course, is the canonical reversed-order display.

RSS feed for comments on this post