Francesco Storace, president of Italy's Lazio region was in New York early in April on a marketing mission to increase awareness of what the region has to offer in the way of industry, finance, design, fashion, film, food, tourism and technology.

The technology on show included an electronic nose which professors Eugenio Martinelli and Giorgio Penazza from the university of Tor Vergata in Rome have invented. It has already proved successful in trials at the Forlanini hospital in the city in the early diagnosis of lung tumours. Patients blow into a balloon and the electronic nose can detects potentially cancerous substances.

Another application for the electronic nose is in the field of quality control of agricultural products such as olive oil and wine and for testing the freshness of fish.