The growth of the world’s population (and in turn its work force) has brought about challenges both foreseen and unforeseen in all but their enormity. These challenges are exacerbated by the mobility of this population as people move about the world to pursue prosperity or to avoid catastrophe. Although the levels of prosperity and catastrophe are as broad as the population is diverse, there are a few needs maintained by all, especially the need for clean air, clean water and safe food.
Waste byproducts from industry and simple human life create immeasurable peril for all. This is complicated by the increasing variety of both biological and chemical threats faced by everyone.
There are two variables which play a role in the seriousness of a given of threat – it’s toxicity/virality and its scope. Any threat, even those with a cure/mitigation can have a major impact if enough people are exposed to it. This makes early detection of any threat crucial.
The ability to detect threats to human health and well-being are a function of not only the availability of a sensing technology, but the granularity of the data provided and the ability to collect it. Next generation sensors designs, including carbon nanotube-based chemiresistors can be printed at low cost enabling the placement of more of them. Connected via the “Internet of Things”, they can provide more data, more quickly, enabling more timely response to a broad range of threats.