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 cruise ship “Mein Schiff 1” features Fraunhofer 3D sound on board
05.09.2018 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Digitale Medientechnologie IDMT

nachricht Small enclosure, big sound, clear speech
31.08.2018 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Digitale Medientechnologie IDMT

All articles from Communications Media >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Stellar cartography

The Potsdam Echelle Polarimetric and Spectroscopic Instrument (PEPSI) at the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) in Arizona released its first image of the surface magnetic field of another star. In a paper in the European journal Astronomy & Astrophysics, the PEPSI team presents a Zeeman- Doppler-Image of the surface of the magnetically active star II Pegasi.

A special technique allows astronomers to resolve the surfaces of faraway stars. Those are otherwise only seen as point sources, even in the largest telescopes...

Im Focus: Heading towards a tsunami of light

Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology and the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, have proposed a way to create a completely new source of radiation. Ultra-intense light pulses consist of the motion of a single wave and can be described as a tsunami of light. The strong wave can be used to study interactions between matter and light in a unique way. Their research is now published in the scientific journal Physical Review Letters.

"This source of radiation lets us look at reality through a new angle - it is like twisting a mirror and discovering something completely different," says...

Im Focus: Revealing the secret of the vacuum for the first time

New research group at the University of Jena combines theory and experiment to demonstrate for the first time certain physical processes in a quantum vacuum

For most people, a vacuum is an empty space. Quantum physics, on the other hand, assumes that even in this lowest-energy state, particles and antiparticles...

Im Focus: Sussex scientists one step closer to a clock that could replace GPS and Galileo

Physicists in the EPic Lab at University of Sussex make crucial development in global race to develop a portable atomic clock

Scientists in the Emergent Photonics Lab (EPic Lab) at the University of Sussex have made a breakthrough to a crucial element of an atomic clock - devices...

Im Focus: Sensing shakes

A new way to sense earthquakes could help improve early warning systems

Every year earthquakes worldwide claim hundreds or even thousands of lives. Forewarning allows people to head for safety and a matter of seconds could spell...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

International Modelica Conference with 330 visitors from 21 countries at OTH Regensburg

11.03.2019 | Event News

Selection Completed: 580 Young Scientists from 88 Countries at the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting

01.03.2019 | Event News

LightMAT 2019 – 3rd International Conference on Light Materials – Science and Technology

28.02.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

Levitating objects with light

19.03.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

New technique for in-cell distance determination

19.03.2019 | Life Sciences

Stellar cartography

19.03.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>