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Google AI can tell what things smells like by the molecular structure

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An artificial intelligence model that maps the structure of molecules to their smell could help create specific food tastes or find compounds to better repel disease-carrying organisms like mosquitoes

Technology



12 September 2022

By Alex Wilkins

A man smelling a plant

What we smell is linked to the structure of chemical molecules in the air, but many subjective factors influence it

John Howard/Getty Images

Google has used an artificial intelligence to produce a map that relates smells to the structures of molecules. It is as reliable as a human in describing the odour of a substance and the researchers behind the work say it is a crucial step towards digitising odours.

The hope is that the AI model could eventually be used to identify new scents for fragrances and flavours for food science, or come …

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