WISE: Electronic Olfaction

November 25, 2018

An electronic nose is a type of chemical sensor designed to be sensitive to a wide range of different molecules. The reason they’re called “electronic noses” is because the basic idea comes from biology: the nose contains several hundred different types of olfactory receptor neurons. All of them react to many different molecules, but each of them reacts in a different way: that’s how we tell odours apart. Electronic noses work based on the same principle.

Aryballe Technologies develops a new kind of electronic nose based on Surface Plasmon Resonance. Here’s a video explaining the principle:

This new type of sensor comes with an interesting set of challenges for data analysis, and we are working with Aryballe to design appropriate signal processing and machine learning techniques. Project WISE is a BPI-funded project on this topic.

We are currently developing an olfactory robot that tries to recognise the odours it encounters along its path.


  • Pierre Maho, Simon Barthelme, Pierre Comon (2018). Non-linear source separation under the Langmuir model for chemical sensors. IEEE Sensor Array and Multichannel Signal Processing Workshop. hal:01802358


At Gipsa-lab:

  • Pierre Maho (PhD Student)
  • Anton Andreev (Research Engineer)
  • Pierre Comon (co-PI)
  • Simon Barthelmé (PI)

Robot design by Carlos Dolcinotti (intern).