An H2020 European Innovation Council Pathfinder Pilot Project

Sensory deficits are a major source of handicap in people’s lives. Scientists have already developed prostheses and implants for hearing impairments and are developing those for vision. Partial and total loss of smell (hyposmia / anosmia) impacts 20% of the world-wide population with deleterious effects on quality of life. However, we have yet to develop such devices to restore the sense of smell, primarily because scientific knowledge linking artificial systems to human biological olfaction is still lacking. Within Rose we envision such a long-term idea. Rose will generate new pieces of scientific knowledge that will be merged to construct a final proof of concept: the Digital Olfaction Module (DOM), a science-to-technology breakthrough enabling people with olfactory loss to perceive their olfactory environment. To this end, Rose will conduct ambitious interdisciplinary research: each partner will be assigned a specific role aligned with their domain of expertise and asked to push conventional boundaries.

The CEA Grenoble team (nanotechnology) will develop a new generation of miniaturized odor sensors. The Lausanne team (microtechnology) will develop a stimulation array. The Aryballe team (SME, biotechnology) and the Milano team (design and mechanics) will combine the sensors and the stimulators to design the DOM. The Dresden (neurosurgery), Thessaloniki (clinical olfaction) and Lyon (cognitive neuroscience) teams will test the DOM in humans with smell disorders. To the millions that suffer from hyposmia and anosmia, Rose will provide stepwise innovation previously unfathomed to overcome scientific and societal challenges and industrial competitiveness in the domain of sensory protheses.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s H2020 European Innovation Council Pathfinder Pilot programme (formerly FET Open) under grant agreement No 964529.