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Smell

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

Portuguese designer Susana Soares has created a series of glass diagnostic tools which use trained honey bees to detect if a patient has cancer. The "Bees" project draws inspiration from research indicating that "sniffer bees" can be trained to detect specific odors such as explosives, or in Soares' case, cancer. Read More

Most of us break wind from time to time; it's a natural function of a healthy body. It's a shame about the smell though. A "flatulence-filtering" range of underpants called Shreddies aims to combat this problem using technology found in chemical warfare suits. Read More

Despite numerous attempts throughout the years, smell-o-vision has failed to take off on the big or small screens. Japanese company Chaku Perfume Co. Ltd. is hoping to have better luck on the even smaller screen with its Chat Perf attachment for iPhone that allows messages or email notifications to be accompanied by a signature smell. Read More
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
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
Combining nanotechnology and microfluidics, researchers at UC Santa Barbara have created a high-performance detector that draws inspiration from the anatomy of a dog's nose to accurately identify substances – including explosives and narcotics – from very small concentrations of airborne molecules. Read More
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

With the assistance of signage suppliers JCDecaux, McCain - makers of a variety of oven-cooked potato products - have come up with a novel advertising campaign to promote their ready-baked baked potatoes. Bus shelters in cities across the UK are to be fitted with smell-emitting advertisements designed to mimic the aroma of a slow-baked potato. Read More

Researchers from Keio University in Tokyo created glasses designed to augment the wearer's experience by providing additional audio and olfactory stimuli during social encounters. Fitted with speakers and scent emitters, the spectacles emit sound and smell signals unique to the person you meet. This eyewear is clearly more than just a fashion accessory. Rather, in the words of its makers, it is an attempt to encourage face-to-face communication with emotional and memorable sound and smell experiences. Read More
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