Sharp has invented a machine that it says can count the bacteria, mold spores and other microbes in the air in about 10 minutes.

Compared with up to a week for the culturing method typically used.

Sharp’s new sensor sucks in air and uses light to gauge microbe amounts in real time, although it cannot identify the germs.

The sensor goes on sale next month for a suggested retail price of about 800,000 yen. Sharp will market it to medical centers, food-processing companies and other contamination-conscious places.

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