The device can test for the bugs in just 24 hours instead of the usual 72 - a difference that could save lives.
Researchers hope it can be used to prevent sepsis, a potentially fatal condition that occurs when the immune system overreacts to infectious bacteria.
It can rapidly lead to septic shock, organ failure and death. An estimated 20% to 35% of victims of severe sepsis die.
The new device consists of a small plastic bottle with a Chemical Sensing Array, or "artificial nose", attached to the inside.
A blood sample is injected into the bottle, which is then shaken to agitate a nutrient to encourage bacteria to grow.
Signature odours released by the bugs change the colour of 36 pigment dots on a sensor. Different patterns of colours correspond to different bacteria strains.
Dr James Carey, who worked with US colleagues from the University of Illinois but who is based at the National University of Kaohsiung in Taiwan, said: "We have a solution to a major problem with the blood cultures that hospitals have used for more than 25 years to diagnose patients with blood-borne bacterial infections."