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A new feature extraction method for odour classification

: Ehret, B.; Safenreiter, K.; Lorenz, F.; Biermann, J.


Sensors and Actuators. B 158 (2011), Nr.1, S.75-88
ISSN: 0925-4005
Fraunhofer FHR ()
Fraunhofer FKIE ()
odour classification; pattern recognition; support vector machines

A new method for real time classification of volatile chemical substance traces is presented. The method is based on electrochemical signals of an array of semiconductor gas sensors. In these sensor signals characteristic patterns of different substances are hidden. There are non-linear correlative relationships between the measured sensor signals and the chemical substances which are treated using two methods derived from statistical learning theory (Support Vector Machine - SVM, Maximum Likelihood Estimation - MLE) for the detection of the substance characteristics in the sensor signals. A key criterion for the presented pattern recognition is a newly developed type of features, which is specially adapted to the low frequency signals of semiconductor sensors. The presented features are based on the evaluation of the range of the transient response in the sensor signals in the frequency domain.
To derive the new features, both real measurement data and synthetic generated signals were used. In the experiments the focus was set on the creation of reproducible sensor signals to get characteristic signal patterns. Synthetic signals were derived from a Gaussian Plume Model. With the new features, training data sets were calculated using the classification methods SVM and MLE. With these training data sets new sensor measurements may be assigned to the substances which are to be sought. The advantage of the presented method is that no feature reduction is needed and no loss of information occurs in the learning process.
The classification results based on the new features have been compared with the classification based on a conventional method for feature extraction. It was proved that the recognition rate of the substances used with the new feature type is higher.
The substance classification is primarily limited by the sensitivity of the semiconductor sensors, because sufficiently large sensor signals must have been provided to obtain appropriate substance patterns. At the present stage of development the method presented is suitable for the classification of substance groups, such as nitro aromatics or alcohols, but not for specific substances.