How technology tastes, smells and sounds

Web special Fraunhofer magazine 1.2021

Over many months, corona has made us aware of just how precious our senses are: smell, taste — all under threat because of the coronavirus. Enjoyment has become a rare experience in the lockdown. The plan being deployed to fight the pandemic is endangering enjoyment as a way of life. Fraunhofer researchers are work­ing on digitalizing the senses. We’ll be discussing how technology sounds, smells and tastes in an encounter with professionals from the industry.


Whiskey & Science

The distillate is an indulgence, plays a cult role in countless films, connoisseurs outdo one another in poetic analogies. In the “Campus of the senses”, Fraunhofer is getting to work on deciphering aroma and taste. Dream or nightmare? A meeting of experts.


Whiskey, keeping the sober perspective

Two opposites get close up: Stefan Gabányi, whiskey connoisseur and Dr. Tilman Sauerwald, physicist and expert for gas measurement technology in the "Campus of the Senses".


Leading the way to indulgence, descending ten steps, into the bar. Soles squeal on the fresh black surface, the floor has just be repainted. Deep, dark brown leather chairs await. Right at the back a piano, this boss plays here himself too. Now he reaches for the bottle. Stefan Gabányi pours a whiskey. A Longrow Single Malt. The incidence rate is still too high to welcome guests. So these are the only glasses the host will be filling in his bar in Munich this evening.

“Campus of the Senses”

The "Campus of the Senses", a joint project of the Fraunhofer Institute for Process Engineering and Packaging IVV and the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits IIS as well as the Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nürnberg, conducts research on chemosensory sensory perception − smell and taste − and The focus is on converting them into technical, machine and digital concepts.

Research & Cuisine

The coronavirus has exposed the vulnerability of our senses. Two experts − one bringing the theory and the other with plenty of experience − meet to talk about fragrance and aroma, and about enjoyment.


“We are constantly discovering new aromas that the
world has no idea about.”

Prof. Andrea Büttner, food chemist and aroma researcher, has been director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Process Engineering and Packaging IVV since 2019.



“All the important things in life involve smelling, eating
and drinking.”

Tohru Nakamura, 37, earned his second Michelin star in 2016.



Could we imagine a world without aromas?

An encounter with Prof. Andrea Büttner and Tohru Nakamura in his “Salon Rouge” in Munich’s Altstadt.

In pursuit of hearing

How acoustic perception is making our lives safer and more relaxed − and how it can even open up completely new horizons.


Listen up!



  • Drone recognition through »acoustic fingerprint«

  • Technological processes for detecting manipulations in audio files

  • Better shopping thanks to auralization

  • AUVIP – Making virtual products spatially audible

  • Hearable for the smart industrial workplace

  • AI-based solution makes dialogues on television easier to understand 

  • AI-based methods for acoustic quality control of manufacturing processes

  • The “ear for the car” as an important component of autonomous driving

Smoke detector learns to smell

Most fires break out in the kitchen. Alarm technology is now learning to smell

Currently, smoke detection devices are lacking at the most vulnerable places in the apartment. Odor experts at Fraunhofer IIS and Fraunhofer IVV are working on a solution − with sense and the senses.



Highly flammable

Our noses recognize cigarette smoke spontaneously. But how can technology learn how to differentiate between enjoyment and danger? Sebastian Hetten­kofer, mathematician at Fraunhofer IIS, wants to teach machines to categorize burning odors.



magazine 1.2021

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