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ScentScape system adds an olfactory dimension to gaming and home videos

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January 17, 2011

The ScentScape unit that plugs into a PC via USB to produce smells tailored for games and ...

The ScentScape unit that plugs into a PC via USB to produce smells tailored for games and videos

Retailers, hotels and real estate agents have been using aromas to entice us to part with our cash for years now and there have even been a few attempts to transmit smells via the internet and mobile phones. California-based company Scent Sciences is now looking to bring an olfactory dimension to computer games with its ScentScape personal digital scent delivery system.

Scent Sciences’ President and CEO, Bill Wiles, told Gizmag the ScentScape system uses a combination of hardware, software & algorithms and chemistry – all covered by patents – to produce the smells. The system consists of a unit that plugs into a PC or gaming console via USB and generates smells using scent cartridges.

Each cartridge provides 20 basic scents and last about 200 hours, depending on personal use. The scents come in standard, which produce a range of more general smells, or media-specific versions to suit particular games, with smell strength controlled via a “volume control”.

Wiles says that gamers will also be able to use the company’s SDK along with the ScentEditor application to create their own scent-enabled games. Players will even be able to share the code they have created with other gamers who have their own ScentScape system to allow them to enjoy their creation.

Similarly, the ScentScape system and ScentScape Editor can be used to add smells to home videos. Specific themed cartridges such as holiday, summer, ocean, etc. will also be available for this purpose, along with special cartridges for aromatherapy and other applications.

Scent Sciences was showing its ScentScape system at CES 2011 and will be introducing the ScentScape Gaming Suite at the Game Developers Conference 2011 in February, where it will be continuing talks with game and game platform developers regarding building ScentScape capabilities into games. Wiles says the company will also work with the game developers to develop scent cartridges to suit their particular games.

Scent Sciences plans to begin shipments of the ScentScape Gaming Suite later this year at a price yet to be announced.

About the Author
Darren Quick Darren's love of technology started in primary school with a Nintendo Game & Watch Donkey Kong (still functioning) and a Commodore VIC 20 computer (not still functioning). In high school he upgraded to a 286 PC, and he's been following Moore's law ever since. This love of technology continued through a number of university courses and crappy jobs until 2008, when his interests found a home at Gizmag.   All articles by Darren Quick
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10 Comments

Seems we've been down this road before... Presenting the Remington Aroma Disc! http://www.xprt.net/~rolfsky/oddities/aromaDisc/aD1.html

Facebook User
18th January, 2011 @ 05:14 am PST

... I would love nothing more than to smell the dead cow/body I'm standing near in a war game...

Lets just leave this to a little more practical applications shall we?

AlexBizzar
18th January, 2011 @ 06:21 am PST

Smell-O-Vision returns!!!

Luddite
18th January, 2011 @ 06:46 am PST

Smell-O-Vision returns!!!

Luddite
18th January, 2011 @ 07:07 am PST

Oh, boy! Now we can 'be there' completely at a corporate hog farm, the Haiti earthquake rubble or any number of battlefields! The shmoos are among us ... Al Capp would be proud! Is feel-a-vision next?

jrup
18th January, 2011 @ 07:15 am PST

The hacking possibilities stink.

Druid
18th January, 2011 @ 07:54 am PST

Just what every gamer needs: more smelly things.

I can see a more discreete version of this, with the right software, becoming the ultimate gift for the person you don't like. Beyond that, I fail to see this compeating with other smelly things.

Charles Bosse
18th January, 2011 @ 08:18 am PST

Personally I love the idea-as long as the scents are subtle and not nasty. I'd like to enter a forested map (in a game) which has a nice sprucey smell and perhaps note the scent off a waterfall.

Don't care to smell the blood/gore off the noobs I just vaporized with my rocket launcher, though the smell of the rockets might be neat. This is just one more step to an a fully immersive sensory experience. Once they get haptics incorporated, then it'd be a lot like Lawnmower Man or the Holodeck in Star Trek.

It might've been done already but they need goggles that give you a full 3d view in your environment, so that you feel that you're completely within the virtual environment. Gaming in the future is going to be awesome.

John Stone
18th January, 2011 @ 09:54 am PST

About time!

Ross William Mcewen-Page
23rd January, 2011 @ 01:51 pm PST

If you read "The Fabric of Reality," by David Deutsch (chapter 5), you'll learn that simply being alive is a virtual-reality experience. You're already living the greatest game ever made in the most realistic environment possible--the physical universe! Have fun!

Tom Hedlund
29th January, 2011 @ 10:15 am PST
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