Welcome to the era of neuroscience – fragrances designed to evoke specific positive feelings, such as calmness, euphoria, or even sleepiness, with the help of AI.Oct 01, 20239 Shares8757 Views
In a world where technology constantly pushes boundaries, the perfume industry is undergoing a fragrant transformation. Modern-day perfumiers are trading their traditional palettes for artificial intelligence, as they strive to create scents that not only tantalize the nose but also trigger emotional responses. Welcome to the era of neuroscience – fragrances designed to evoke specific positive feelings, such as calmness, euphoria, or even sleepiness, with the help of AI.
The art of perfume-making has a rich history, dating back to ancient Greece. However, the fragrance industry is now at the forefront of a technological revolution. Perfumers are delving deep into the world of AI to unlock the secrets of our olfactory senses and develop scents that resonate with our emotions.
At the Institute of Biophysics and Biomedical Engineering in Lisbon, Hugo Ferreira is pioneering the fusion of neuroscience and perfumery. His groundbreaking research involves mapping brain activity and responses to various scents to construct a comprehensive database of neuroscents. Ferreira emphasizes the enigmatic nature of our sense of smell, noting that while we can easily visualize images and melodies, it's considerably more challenging to imagine a scent, despite its profound ability to evoke emotions and memories.
This difficulty in imagining smells is intricately tied to the complex structure of the olfactory system. Scent receptors transmit messages to the olfactory bulb, which then directs these signals to different areas of the brain responsible for memory, thirst, stress, and more. Ferreira believes that olfaction, with its multitude of receptors – an estimated 400 different olfactory receptor gene families – may explain our ability to "smell fear" or even the scent of victory.
Leading beauty brands are investing significantly in neuroscent research and technology. L'Oréal, in collaboration with neurotechnology company Emotiv, has introduced a unique "scent choice experience." Shoppers at select Yves Saint Laurent stores worldwide use a headset to create an electroencephalogram (EEG) that reveals which scents resonate with them. Remarkably, 95% of customers using the EEG headset have successfully discovered the perfect perfume.
Puig, a prominent fashion and fragrance business, harnessed the power of AI by taking 45 million brain readings from men aged 18-35 to refine the cologne Phantom by Paco Rabanne. Lavender and lemon were incorporated into the formula based on this biometric research. Givenchy's Irresistible eau de parfum, the latest addition to its bestselling Very Irresistible range, features a rose extract dubbed "anti-morose," chosen after rigorous biometric studies.
While mass-market fragrances must cater to a broad audience, niche perfumiers are exploring the potential for ultra-personalized formulas. South Korean company Amorepacific creates personalized bath bombs using real-time biodata gathered by a "bathbot." Similarly, EveryHuman, an algorithmic perfumery based in the Netherlands, crafts unique scents using a questionnaire and algorithms within minutes. Recently, EveryHuman expanded into the realm of room fragrances, allowing visitors to the Moooi furniture store in London to witness the magic of their Willy Wonka-esque machine.
Anahita Mekanik, co-founder of EveryHuman, who brings 20 years of experience in scent development and marketing, believes in the accessibility that algorithmic perfumery provides. She notes that countless "imperfect" trials are created and discarded during traditional scent development, many of which consumers might have adored. Algorithmic perfumery streamlines this process, enabling more people to engage directly with scent creation.
Despite the allure of scientific perfume development, not everyone is on board with the idea of AI-powered fragrances. Renowned broadcaster and perfume writer Katie Puckrik argues for preserving the magic of artistic serendipity in fragrance discovery. She likens designing her own perfume to crushing grapes for homemade wine, emphasizing the importance of letting artists create and surprise us with their olfactory creations.
In contrast, Ferreira finds the true magic in the essence of scent itself. He believes that fragrances extend beyond cosmetics and aromatherapy, suggesting that odorant molecules hold untapped therapeutic potential for our well-being. The possibilities of modulating scents for health and other purposes are boundless, marking a frontier that could be studied for generations.
In a world where AI continues to influence every facet of our lives, it seems that the fragrance industry has also embraced the power of artificial intelligence. Perfumiers are now navigating the intricate landscapes of our olfactory senses with the precision of neural networks, all in the pursuit of creating scents that do more than just smell pleasant – they evoke emotions, trigger memories, and potentially enhance our overall well-being. As AI takes center stage in the world of perfumery, the future promises to be filled with an exciting symphony of scents that can uplift, soothe, and transport us to the realms of our most cherished memories and emotions.