Toshiba has showed off its new medical breathalyzer. The company says that it will be able to diagnose diseases by analyzing the air a patient exhales. Just how bad is your breath?

The prototype blasts a patient's exhaled breath with a quantum cascade laser, and the gaseous compounds in the breath absorbs energy from the laser. It then emits the energy in measurable forms that are unique to each compound, which is later analyzed.

Toshiba says that the device can detect acetone (an indicator of diabetes), acetaldehyde (made when the body metabolizes alcohol, and responsible for hangovers) and methane (whose levels indicate a patient's intestinal health).

The idea of measuring your health via your breath isn't a new idea. Doctors know that acetone-scented breath can indicate a severe problem in patients with diabetes, and researchers have been on a hunt for a device that can analyze all of this.

[Toshiba via The News]