The objective of this project is to build an olfactory library dating back to the 16th century for one day, for example, to offer the public museum tours with the eyes. About forty researchers, historians, chemists and computer scientists have embarked on this adventure. They are therefore going to dig into the past to find in texts, paintings, images, everything related to smells. “We poured into the libraries large collections of documents that are available, which just require to be analyzed in quotation marks”, explains Raphaël Troncy, professor and researcher at Eurocom, an engineering school based in Sophia Antipolis, near Nice.

“Here we are going to really make full use of the new advances in terms of artificial intelligence that can process these large volumes of data.”

Raphael Troncy

to franceinfo

“We are going to try to train the machine to recognize in a detailed way this very particular information which interests us and which therefore concerns odors”, explains Raphaël Troncy.


Once the data has been collected and organized, chemists will enter the competition to try to (re) synthesize the molecules supporting the odors identified: those from the street, those from ceremonies, those from military battles, for example, like that of Waterloo. All this to eventually offer the general public a trip to the past in Odorama. “We could quite imagine making smells smell and you tell us which painting it could correspond to? Or vice versa: looking at paintings what would you imagine smelling? Having an enhanced experience thanks to all that! “ Raphaël Troncy hopes to be able to present the first results of his studies by next summer.


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