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A Measure of Smell


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A chef smells a fresh herb.

In a new study on the sense of smell, Weizmann Institute of Science researchers recorded and mapped how different odors are perceived.

Credit: Research Stash

Computer scientists, neurobiologists, and a master-perfumer at Israel's Weizmann Institute of Science have developed a framework for odors that maps how they are perceived and can predict the smell of any complex odorant based on its molecular structure.

The study involved asking participants to rate pairs of smells according to how similar they seemed to one another.

The resulting model could predict how a different group of participants would rate different pairs of scents.

The "smell map" that predicts the similarity of any two odorants also was able to predict how an odorant would smell.

Moreover, the map and metric can take a perfume with a known set of ingredients and create a new perfume that smells the same but has no components in common with the original.

Said Weizmann's Noam Sobel, "We have converted odor percepts into numbers, and this should indeed advance the science of odor."

From Weizmann Institute of Science
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Abstracts Copyright © 2020 SmithBucklin, Washington, DC, USA


 

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