A new computer can identify smells, its creator claims

A computer that can be trained to recognise the smell of explosives has been unveiled at the TEDGlobal conference in Tanzania.

Nigerian researcher Oshi Agabi has built a computer known as the Koniku Kore, which is based on mice neurons rather than silicon, and he says could be used to sniff out explosives and replace traditional airport security.

3D illustration of Interconnected neurons with electrical pulses.
(ktsimage/Getty Images)

Many of the major technology firms are already attempting to model the human brain through their development of artificial intelligence and machine learning – something Agabi says doesn’t make his research that outlandish.

According to the BBC, the Koniku Kore is a combination of neurons and silicon, creating a system of sensors that can spot and recognise smells.

“You can give the neurons instructions about what to do – in our case we tell it to provide a receptor that can detect explosives,” Agabi said.

He added that in the future he hoped to be able to use the device to eliminate security queues at airports by placing the devices at different points throughout terminal buildings.

Illustration of the thought processes in the brain
(iLexx/Getty Images)

Agabi said he also hoped to see a future where the Kore could be used to detect illnesses by sensing disease markers in air molecules being emitted from patients.

The Silicon Valley-based researcher says he has already received considerable investment through funding and deals with the security industry.

A link between biology and technology is already being explored by Tesla and SpaceX boss Elon Musk, whose latest venture Neuralink has said it is looking into fusing the human brain with artificial intelligence using so-called “neural lace” which involves planting tiny electrodes into the brain.


 

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