Your nose is pretty awesome. It can tell you how everything from freshly baked cookies to someone’s cologne to a bed of blooming roses smell, and even when death is near. But as excellent and useful as these may be, wouldn’t it be great if smell could tell you when fruits, veggies, meats, and other perishable goods were about to go well… perish? It’s a good thing science has your back. Start-up C2Sense has invented a tiny sensor that has the ability to sniff out whether your food is on the verge of spoiling.

If you’re like me, you put like foods that a similar together in your fridge or on your countertop. That means lettuce goes with other lettuce, apples with apples, bananas with bananas. What you may not know is that these foods give off ethylene — a gas that ripening fruit emit, causing other fruit to ripen, which makes them emit ethylene, with this domino effect ruining your freshly picked batch.

C2Sense has created a technology capable of detecting even the slightest traces of ethylene at levels the human nose has no chance of catching. Outside of your kitchen, the device could be used by fruit and vegetable wholesalers, who would be able to tell which produce is ripening, and monitor these boxes to ensure customers receive a product that is ripe or very close to it. Restaurants would be able to use the technology in handheld devices to tell which food is going bad sooner, enabling them to either use the food in their next dish or move the food away from other products to avoid the aforementioned domino effect.

To create this technology, co-founder and CTO Jan Schnorr looked to carbon monoxide sensors and smoke alarms for inspiration. Those products work by reacting to specific particles from smoke and carbon, and run on electrical currents that trigger the alarm. Schnorr said ethylene detectors had been around for years, but they were either too expensive or too inaccurate to detect ethylene outside the lab. C2Sense’s sensor, however, is so sensitive that it can detect even low levels of gas without sending out false positives, he told Wired.

The technology itself is a brand-new material that’s incredibly cheap to create and chemically reacts to ethylene. Schnorr plans to use it as a resistor in a tiny electrical circuit. As the number of ethylene molecules near the sensor increases, the material changes its conductivity, which in turn changes the electrical current. This current allows the team to measure how much ethylene is near the sensor, and will give us an accurate idea of when food will go bad.

As for products beyond fruits and vegetables, the current prototype can detect four types of gases, including ammonia and amines, which are derived from ammonia and emitted from meat. Schnorr and his team hope that one day their product will be so cheap, it’ll line the insides of grocery bags, so that consumers will be able to scan the chip with their phone and get a freshness reading of their food.