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Artificial Intelligence will Develop A Sense Of Smell. What Might A Digital Nose Mean In Practice?

Nowadays, machines can see and react in some cases. Sensors allow autonomous cars to receive visual information and decide what to do next when they are on the road.  But did you know that machines can smell, too?

Aryballe is a startup that uses digital olfaction technology and artificial intelligence to mimic the human sense of smell. It helps their business customers to make actionable information out of odor data.

It is surprising that there are many practical use cases for technology like this. The CEO of Aryballe, Sam Guillaume, had an interview where he talked about how digital olfaction works and the current use of this technology. He also spoke about his predictions for the future of fragrance tech.

How the Nose Smells

Human noses process odor molecules that organic and inorganic objects release. When the energy in objects increases through pressure, temperature changes, or agitation, odors evaporate, which allows us to inhale and absorb the smell through our nasal cavities.

Then, the odors stimulate the olfactory bulb and nasal olfactory neurons. Our brains collect other information, such as visual cues and other memories of things that we have smelled before, to identify the smell and decide how to react.

How Can Digital Olfaction Work

Digital olfaction can mimic how humans smell the way they capture odor using biosensors. Then they use software solutions to display and analyze the odor data. Artificial Intelligence can interpret the signatures and classify them based on a database that is previously collected smells.

Guillaume said that technology gave us a chance to duplicate the way human olfaction works over the last few years.  He added that by porting this technology to readily available techniques such as semiconductors, we are able to make sensors that are easy to use, convenient, small, and cheap. He described that in terms of the ability to discriminate between smells and performance. He said that this process is close to the way humans smell.

Odor analytics are able to help companies do things like:

It can predict when industrial or automotive equipment needs maintenance and detect food spoilage in consumer appliances automatically.

Leverage the Power of Odor Data

Companies like Aryballe will collaborate on projects that will create digital odor libraries to create devices that will help COVID-19 patients recover their sense of smell in the near future.


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