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— Science

Scientists use fruit flies to detect cancer

Scientists from the University of Konstanz, Germany, are the first to demonstrate that fruit flies can distinguish cancerous cells from healthy ones via their sense of smell. The team has genetically modified fruit flies so that their antennae glow when they detect a cancerous odor. In an experiment, scientists directed smells at fruit flies. The fruit flies' appearance was monitored via a microscope. Read More
— Electronics

The Scent Rhythm watch tells time by releasing fragrances

Glancing at a clock face in one form or another has been the de facto way to measure the passage of time. Aisen Caro Chacin though, is exploring a different perspective. She wants to give everyone the ability to tell time using their noses. Her chemical-based watch called the Scent Rhythm emits specially-designed fragrances in minute doses, in tune with circadian cycle of the human body. You get a fragrance of coffee in the morning, the smell of money in the afternoon, a relaxing whiskey scent in the evening, and a soothing chamomile fragrance at night. More than being merely pleasant, each chemically-supplemented scent aims to induce action appropriate to the time of day; the caffeine in the coffee scent, for example, aims to trigger the person into being more active. Read More
— Good Thinking

Madeleine "smell camera" records odors for the future

The five traditional senses of perception – sound, sight, smell, touch, and taste – are all capable of triggering memories. However, we haven't yet figured out how to capture copies of all of these inputs. We can capture images on cameras and sounds on audio equipment, we can recreate tastes to a certain degree, and we can simulate touch with physical copies of other things. But what about smells? The ability to capture everyday odors in an immutable state has eluded us. Until now. Read More
— Electronics

“Smell-o-Vision” display emits localized virtual odors

Localized dimming is a feature found in many televisions these days, but what about a display capable of producing localized smells? That’s exactly what a team from the Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology in Japan has created. The “smelling screen” that was recently presented at the IEEE Virtual Reality 2013 conference in Orlando, Florida can produce odors that appear to emanate from specific areas of the screen. Read More
— Robotics

Moth takes the driver's seat in smell-tracking robot

In the future, we may have autonomous robots that follow scents to track down gas leaks, rescue disaster victims trapped in debris, or perform other duties. While the algorithms that drive such robots could perhaps just be made up from scratch, scientists from the University of Tokyo are instead looking to the insect world for inspiration. To that end, they recently created a two-wheeled robot that was successfully driven by female-seeking male silkmoths. Read More
— Space

NASA working on getting rid of the "new satellite" smell

NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland is working to eliminate new car smell. No, they aren't a bunch of killjoys. That distinctive odor is caused by outgassing of chemicals used in car manufacturing. Some scientists believe these gases to be harmful, but whether they are or not, satellites suffer from the same problem. The gases released by satellites themselves can damage them, so NASA is working on new ways to control or eliminate these emissions. Read More