In order to enhance the selectivity of metal oxide gas sensors, we use a flow modulation method to exploit transient sensor information. The method is based on modulating the flow of the carrier gas that brings the species to be measured into the sensor chamber. We present an active perception strategy by using a DQN which can optimize the flow modulation online. The advantage of DQN is not only that the classification accuracy is higher than traditional methods such as PCA, but also that it has a good adaptability under small samples and labeled data. From observed values of the sensors array and its past experiences, the DQN learns an action policy to change the flow speed dynamically that maximizes the total rewards (or minimizes the classification error). Meanwhile, a CNN is trained to predict sample class and reward according to current actions and observation of sensors. We demonstrate our proposed methods on a gases classification problem in a real time environment. The results show that the DQN learns to modulate flow to classify different gas and the correct rates of gases are: sesame oil 100%, lactic acid 80%, acetaldehyde 80%, acetic acid 80%, and ethyl acetate 100%, the average correct rate is 88%. Compared with the traditional method, the results of PCA are: sesame oil 100%, acetic acid 24%, acetaldehyde 100%, lactic acid 56%, ethyl acetate 68%, the average accuracy rate is 69.6%. DQN uses fewer steps to achieve higher recognition accuracy and improve the recognition speed, and to reduce the training and testing costs.
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