When the sensor detects a smell, an AI takes over and checks it against a database of known scents for "the closest similar smell determined by the smallest Hamming distance to any know code," HSE writes. If it can't find a match, the sensor will identify the scent as being new.
The difference between this and other scent prediction/identification tech -- like the crowdfunded one from this February -- is that it can sense more than one scent at a time. Useful for, say, gas mixtures.
"Essentially, we want to teach the device to discriminate between hazardous and non-hazardous gas mixtures and memorize them fast," MIEM HSE professor Vladimir Kulagin says.
At the least, it could greatly benefit folks working in mines or enclosed spaces as sort of a digital canary, alerting folks when an unsafe gas has entered the area.