While smell-o-vision may be a long way from being ready for your PC, Intel is partnering with Cornell University to bring it closer to reality. Intel’s Loihi neuromorphic research chip, a a powerful electronic nose with a wide range of applications, can recognize dangerous chemicals in the air.
“In the future, portable electronic nose systems with neuromorphic chips could be used by doctors to diagnose diseases, by airport security to detect weapons and explosives, by police and border control to more easily find and seize narcotics, and even to create more effective at home smoke and carbon monoxide detectors,” Intel said in a press statement.
With machine learning, Loihi can recognize hazardous chemicals “in the presence of significant noise and occlusion,” Intel said, suggesting the chip can be used in the real world where smells — such as perfumes, food, and other odors — are often found in the same area as a harmful chemical. Machine learning trained Loihi to learn and identify each hazardous odor with just a single sample, and learning a new smell didn’t disrupt previously learned scents.