Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researchers develop electronic nose for multimedia

01.04.2004


Imagine you are a thousand miles from home, and your mother cooks your favourite meal for you. Then she takes a photo of it and sends it to you by email. And then, when you open the photo, a wave of aroma--your Mom’s cooking--fills the air.



Two researchers at the University of Alberta have been working to make this type of scenario a reality. Their latest success, the development of an electronic nose for multimedia use, has been reported recently in IEEE Transactions on Consumer Electronics.

Dr. Mrinal Mandal, a professor in the U of A Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Rafael Castro, a master’s student studying under Mandal, have developed an apparatus that will recognize the odors of ten different smell groupings--from fruits, to coffees, to gases, to spices and to just about everything in between. The device connects to a PC, which then determines what smell the electronic nose has captured.


So far, smell detectors have been developed and are currently used in various industry capacities, such as to detect cyanide gases and rotten fish--jobs that would make people sick or would be unpleasant, Mandal said. He added that these ’noses’ are expensive and wouldn’t be appropriate for multimedia use because they have been designed only to complete specific, narrowly defined tasks.

Mandal said that Castro built his electronic nose entirely with inexpensive electronic parts that can be found in any local hardware store.

"The nose works in a more complex way than the eyes do," said Mandal, explaining the challenges in building the system. "There are primarily three colour receptors in the human eye, but there are several million smell receptors in the nose and about 1,000 different types of receptors, so you need to create at least 1,000 smell channels to build a good electronic nose."

Mandal and Castro also ran into a few difficulties they didn’t expect. For one, the fact that smells--unlike visual images or audio signals--require the movement of molecules, means that smells can be sticky and can linger. To solve this problem, Castro devised a pump "cleaning system".

According to Mandal and Castro, the next step in order to add smell to the multimedia experience is to develop a low-cost smell generation system--a challenge Castro believes will be easier than it was to develop the smell capturing system.

Mandal, who has recently written a book on multimedia, envisions a mass-produced, said an inexpensive electronic nose may become available sometime in the next five to ten years. However, Mandal and Castro both say their interest in the research is more academic than commercial.

"It is a big challenge. And I love challenges," Castro said.



Rafael Castro can be reached at 780-492-0152 or rcastro@ualberta.ca.
Dr. Mrinal Mandal can be reached at 780-492-0294 or mandal@ece.ualberta.ca.

Ryan Smith | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ualberta.ca/

More articles from Communications Media:

nachricht New Technologies for A/V Analysis and Search
13.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Digitale Medientechnologie IDMT

nachricht On patrol in social networks
25.01.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Arbeitswirtschaft und Organisation IAO

All articles from Communications Media >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: The fastest light-driven current source

Controlling electronic current is essential to modern electronics, as data and signals are transferred by streams of electrons which are controlled at high speed. Demands on transmission speeds are also increasing as technology develops. Scientists from the Chair of Laser Physics and the Chair of Applied Physics at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) have succeeded in switching on a current with a desired direction in graphene using a single laser pulse within a femtosecond ¬¬ – a femtosecond corresponds to the millionth part of a billionth of a second. This is more than a thousand times faster compared to the most efficient transistors today.

Graphene is up to the job

Im Focus: LaserTAB: More efficient and precise contacts thanks to human-robot collaboration

At the productronica trade fair in Munich this November, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be presenting Laser-Based Tape-Automated Bonding, LaserTAB for short. The experts from Aachen will be demonstrating how new battery cells and power electronics can be micro-welded more efficiently and precisely than ever before thanks to new optics and robot support.

Fraunhofer ILT from Aachen relies on a clever combination of robotics and a laser scanner with new optics as well as process monitoring, which it has developed...

Im Focus: The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet

Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.

A warming planet

Im Focus: Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex

Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.

The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Nerves control the body’s bacterial community

26.09.2017 | Life Sciences

Four elements make 2-D optical platform

26.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Goodbye, login. Hello, heart scan

26.09.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>