When I mention AI (Artificial Intelligence) machines can smell now, my friends exclaim with the statement of “So What”! The best way is to explain to them the importance of smell in our lives.
This article introduces considerable research to olfactory development in computer science and engineering at a high level and points out recent developments in the industry. I also touch on potential use cases and business value propositions.
Let me give you a high-level background to digital scent technology as part of the technical literature review that I conducted reflecting olfactory progress in AI.
Digital scent technology is part of the engineering discipline covering olfactory representation in digital format. From a system point of view, electronic devices called olfactometers and electronic noses sense, receive and transmit digital scent data to computer processors.
The original concept was developed in the late 1950s by Hans Laube. The system called “Smell-O-Vision” was part of a movie project. The name of the movie was Scent of Mystery. The system developed for this movie triggered odors and spread them in the cinema.
This interesting invention inspired several researchers in the field. In 1982, an exciting research paper titled “Analysis of discrimination mechanisms in the mammalian olfactory system using a model nose” was published in the scientific journal Nature. The authors of this paper were Krishna Persaud and George Dodd.
This fascinating and first of a kind paper tested the hypothesis of constructing an electronic nose using semiconductor transducers and incorporating design features suggested by their proposal. Persaud and Dodd reported that the device could reproducibly discriminate between a wide variety of odours, and its properties showing discrimination in an olfactory system that could be achieved without the use of specific receptors.
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