Development of a Breath Analyzer for O2 and CO2 Measurement

Hsuan-Yu Chen1, Chiachung Chen2, *
1 Department of Materials Science and Engineering, University of California, San Diego, CA, USA
2 Department of Bio-industrial Mechatronics Engineering, National ChungHsing University, Taichung, 40227, Taiwan

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© 2019 Chen and Chen.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Bio-industrial Mechatronics Engineering, National ChungHsing University, Taichung, 40227, Taiwan; Tel: +886422857562; Fax: +886422857135; E-mail:



Breath analysis can be used to screen disease and detect physical conditions. Many research studies have investigated various sensors or techniques that were used to detect gas concentrations and temperature. However, the studies were less concerned about the performance of sensors.


In this study, we developed and tested a portable breath analyzer for exhaled gas measurement. We detected air flow rate, temperature, humidity, CO2 and O2 concentrations. Commercial sensing elements were used to assemble this breath analyzer. All sensors were calibrated to ensure their accuracy. The response times of different sensors were considered. We analyzed breath during three states; 1) seating and resting for 5 min, 2) walking for 5 min and 3) running for 5 min in test participants. Fifteen students 20 to 34 years of age were the test participants.


Heat, humidity and CO2 production and O2 consumption were calculated from these measured data and were used to assess the performance of the analyzer. The Respiratory Quotient (RQ) were estimated by the ratio of VCO2 to VO2. The RQ values for resting, walking and running states were 0.899, 0.865 and 0.785, respectively. Walking and running significantly increased the heat and humidity production of the human body, corresponding to the human physiological function.


The RQ value is usually in the range of 0.8 to 0.85. The measurement results for our exhaled analyzer were close to this range. From the respiratory quotient values, the performance of this breath analyzer was reasonable.

Keywords: Breath analyzer, Sensor, Exhaled gas, Measurement respiratory quotient, Calibration, Response time.