Aug 1, 2020
 in 
Tech

Artificial Intelligence Can now Pick Out Specific Odours

 BY 
Anthony Balogne
E

ver wondered if Artificial Intelligence can detect a particular smell?

We already know that AI-powered cars are all set to take over our highways in the not too distant future. And that the very foundations of life as we know it today could be turned upside down in the next couple of decades by the automation of many jobs currently carried out by humans.

Now it turns out that artificial intelligence is also developed enough to learn how to smell.

This fascinating development could be one of the many examples of how AI could help to drive forward rather than bring down life on planet earth for us basic humans.

How Exactly Can AI Smell?

Researchers all over the world have been working on research projects that are trying to develop the way AI can recognize odor for a few years now.

One such project at Cornell University has done this by replicating the mammalian olfactory bulb (MOB), the part of the brain that is in charge of processing the odors we perceive in the outside world.

The artificial intelligence created at Cornell does this by mimicking a part of the MOB that distinguishes the different smells that are present as compounds in the air around us.

Although this wasn’t the first AI project of its kind, the Cornell University study has massively advanced the limits shown by previous projects.

AI can pick out specific odours from a combination of smells | New ...

Beating Out the Competition by More Than a Nose

The Cornell study used neuromorphic structure which is designed to more closely match the hardware in our brains.

Other studies had seen AI be able to recognize smells correctly, but they were far from perfect, could often only process one at a time, and needed to forget what they had just learned to move onto the next smell.

The Cornell team developed an AI that can not only more keenly match the odors than previous AIs, but it can also retain what it has learned when moving onto new smells.

How Does Odor Detecting AI Help Us?

That sounds fascinating, but you may be wondering what exactly could this kind of AI be useful for?

There are a whole host of really useful fields where this kind of AI could come in handy, such as medical diagnoses, toxic waste detection, air quality monitoring, and even bomb detection.

Having AIs with the ability to smell could save and improve lives across a wide range of fields, but there are also some more fun and interesting ways where this technological advance could impact our lives.

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At an artificial intelligence exhibit at London’s Barbican Centre in 2019, a team of scientists used machine learning to recreate the smell of an extinct flower no living person had ever smelled before.

On a similar theme, IBM played a key role in a project that produced the world’s first AI designed perfume. This scent was produced by non-smelling AI, but it was so successful that the perfume was sold especially for Valentine’s Day in Brazil last year.

Fans of HBO’s Westworld might be a little suspicious of the potential of AI but this is the real world.

Every day teams of scientists and engineers all over the world are working on incredible AI-related projects that look sure to make all of our futures a better place.

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