Intel develops chip that sniffs out hazardous chemicals

  • Intel develops chip that sniffs out hazardous chemicals

Intel develops chip that sniffs out hazardous chemicals

Much like how humans may have trouble distinguishing the smells of fruits like blueberries or bananas because of the similarity in neural activity patterns in the brain, neuromorphic systems can face similar problems-especially when attempting to classify distinct smells in common categories. With researchers' guidance, Loihi rapidly learned neural representations of 10 different odors. Using Loihi, Intel also started a neuromorphic research community (INRS) to research all aspects of the neuromorphic computing, towards commercialization. After all, our noses are, at a basic level, a system of receptors that send electrical impulses to our brain for interpretation.

While neuromorphic chip from Intel is being a very early prototype, writes MIT Technology Review. Whether you're smelling a grapefruit, a rose or a noxious gas, networks of neurons in your brain create sensations specific to the object. To do so, the team used a dataset consisting of the activity of 72 chemical sensors in response to these smells and configured the circuit diagram of biological olfaction on Loihi.

In this case, Intel's Loihi chip exhausted to mimic the brain's olfactory system, which is responsible for the sense of smell. A significant feat of Loihi is the ability to distinguish the difference between smells, even with strong background interferents. Your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors at home use sensors to detect odors but they can not distinguish between them; they beep when they detect harmful molecules in the air but are unable to categorize them in intelligent ways.

Equipping robots with neuromorphic chips for environmental monitoring and hazardous materials detection; this can allow researchers to know exactly what gaseous substances are being released into the atmosphere.

They could be used for medical diagnoses where some diseases emit particular odours. Intel believes the research could come in handy in checking for unsafe substances and explosives out there in the real-world, aiding doctors in diagnosing diseases with specific traits, and even helping worker robots identify hazardous materials in the fight for climate change.

Furthermore, Imam hopes to "generalize this approach to a wider range of problems" to understand relationships between observed objects and solving abstract problems, like planning and decision-making.

Challenges to overcome: There are challenges in olfactory sensing, Imam says.

"This work is a prime example of contemporary research at the crossroads of neuroscience and Artificial Intelligence and demonstrates Loihi's potential to provide important sensing capabilities that could benefit various industries", he added.

The new Pohoiki Springs system comprises 786 Loihi chips, which means it packs a total of 1.5 trillion transistors on nearly 50,000mm-squared of silicon.