Artificial eyes, ears, and noses for stronger, safer troops A layer of mucus dissolves the arriving scents and separates out different odors molecules so that they arrive at the receptors at different speeds and times. The brain is able to interpret this pattern to distinguish a diverse range of smells.
In contrast, an artificial nose consists of a much smaller array of chemical sensors, typically between six and 12, connected to a computer or neural network capable of recognizing patterns of molecules.
A neural network is a collection of computer processors that function in a similar way to a simple animal brain. The nose doesn’t have a specific receptor for the smell of roses; instead it detects a particular mixture of sweet, sour, and floral, which the brain recognizes as a rose. Similarly, the Tufts artificial nose has 16 fluorescent sensor strips, each sensitive to a different range of molecules, and a computer that interprets their response pattern to determine whether or not they have sniffed a mine. While this method can be better at filtering out false alarms than the Fido approach, it may not be quite as sensitive to explosives-related chemicals.The human nose contains more than 100 million receptors.
Initially developed as laboratory instruments, electronic noses that mimic the human sense of smell are moving into food, beverage, medical, and environmental applications. The Researchers and manufacturers alike have long envisioned creating devices that can ‘smell’ odors in many different applications. Thanks to recent advances in organic chemistry, sensor technology, electronics, and artificial intelligence, the measurement and characterization of aromas by electronic noses (or e-noses) is on the verge of becoming a commercial reality.