Reckitt Benckiser boffins have developed what they claim is the only air freshener with an electronic 'nose'.

The Air Wick Odour Detect which is rolling out to retailers now couldn't tell if a smell was good or bad, admitted RB. However, it could detect rapid changes in odour levels and would release a neutralising burst of fragrance if this happened.

"Flowers, which tend to release their fragrance slowly, would not trigger the device," said RB UK marketing head Stefan Gaa. "But sudden change like cooking fish, for example, would change the background level and trigger the detector."

The device was the result of five years of R&D, said RB, which claimed the product was so advanced that it would make air fresheners that detected motion redundant. The company's own Air Wick Freshmatic iMotion is therefore being replaced by the new product. "iMotion launched two years ago and has been very successful, with other manufacturers later introducing their own motion sensor products," said Gaa. "Odour Detect is the next major innovation."

Odour Detect will be available in two sizes standard and compact (rsp: £9.99/£13.99) and six fragrances including the most popular Air Wick scent, Cool Linen & White Lilac. Mulled Wine & Cinnamon Apple will be released in time for Christmas.

The company is spending £10m on a push for Odour Detect, with national TV and press ads breaking on Monday (11 July) and support set to run during the summer and into the Christmas period.