Something good-smelling must be in the air at CES this week, because digital noses are becoming a bit of a thing at this year’s tech expo. Yesterday I dropped by the booth of Stratuscent, a Montreal, Quebec-based startup which is digitizing scents to detect freshness.
The company’s sensors, called eNoses, detect chemicals in the air to create a scent print — like a fingerprint for a smell. According to CEO David Wu, who gave me a tour, Stratuscent’s “secret sauce” is its superior AI and machine learning, which can quickly and accurately determine any number of complex scents, even ones too tricky for humans to smell. The company’s tech came from NASA, where it was originally used for leak detection.
The eNose is pretty simple to use. Just wave the product in question under the eNose and it will determine what it is — as well as its percentage of accuracy — in under thirty seconds. You can Wu demonstrating the technology below:
Wu told me that Stratuscent’s noses have a variety of applications, including sniffing ethylene, a chemical that indicates spoilage, in crop shipments. They’re also working with a dairy company to detect milk freshness. In the home, Wu told me that the eNose could also be integrated into smart kitchen appliances to identify cooking stages (your sauce is about to burn!) and alert users to food spoilage.
Startuscent was founded in 2017 and has raised $4.3 million thus far. Wu said that in addition to its partnership with a dairy company, Stratuscent is pushing further into the food and agriculture space, and is also in conversations to work with indoor agriculture farmers.
Stratuscent isn’t the only player digitizing smell technology (what a world). Yesterday Chris wrote about Aryballe’s new Digital Nose 2.0, which also debuted at CES this week and also digitizes scent to detect freshness, cooking smells, etc.
Regardless, the digital scent landscape is just beginning to emerge. As food safety outbreaks grow — and consumers become more conscious about reducing home food waste — I think there will be a growing market for this sort of technology. Which means there’s ample opportunity for more than one player to nose its way into the digital smelling space.