Digital Smell Technology: Blurring the Lines Between AI and the Internet


Now, there is a lot that you could do online. You can read ebooks, surf the web, or even play games. However, what if I tell you that you can now smell scents from the internet? Sounds strange, right? Don’t worry – technology is going to change how we live in different ways. And one of them is using artificial intelligence to help us do more than you think possible.

Here is a tidbit – most of the technological innovations till now, focus only on sight and sound. Virtual reality, on the other hand, has been focusing on improving visuals, audio, touch, and feel of virtual objects. However, there are companies which started to take a different approach in the VR industry, and that is through smell. For instance, did you know that apart from the ability to play live games with Betway, you can also try out VR games – that are a whole lot more fun?  Yes, Betway offers a lot more than just helping you bet live!

How are odors being smelled using VR?

As you might already know, VR is an imitation of reality, and honestly, it would be useless if it did not implement smells. If you did not realize smell is vital to the way we perceive things, that it is why it is part of the five senses. Anosmics, individuals who cannot see smell, have been found to disassociate with the world and even suffer depression.

In a research conducted by Imagineering Institute in Malaysia, the scientists came up with ten different types of odors. It is through VR that recipients can be able to send out and receive the odors by wearing glasses which have electrodes. This meant that smell is created through electricity which critics have come out to disagree.

However, did you know that you can have a virtual dinner with your friends – all through the internet?

What are the Practical Uses of Digital Smell Technology?

Scientists have long pondered over the idea of using smell to enhance our experiences. In 1959, movie theaters experimented with a system called AromaRama that used pipes in the ceiling to introduce smells. In 1960, a similar approach called Smell-O-Vision was tested. But both failed to win the admiration of the viewers and were canceled.

If we are able to perfect the technology, then we can find several practical uses. For instance, you will be able to email or send smells in chat- imagine catching the scent of the wet earth after a rain sitting in a dry location or inside your room!

You can also play smell-enabled video games and movies to excite your olfactory senses apart from engaging in visuals and sounds. Another important application can be in the field of ecommerce- you can smell a perfume or get a whiff of freshly brewed coffees on an ecommerce site before placing your orders.

What are some of the problems faces when adding odors to VR?

A number of scientists believe that this innovation could take a couple of years before it is fully implemented. Unlike sights and sounds, smells have become quite a challenge for innovators. For instance, there is no way you can set up a small machine into a VR without stinking the entire room.

On the other hand, it requires a massive set of data to establish different odor components fully. For instance, the smell of fear which is present from someone who is very afraid contains collection mixtures which are hard to collect. More you cannot forget that people perceive scents differently. In study participants were put in a room full of urine, some thought that it was rotting fish while others felt that it was garbage. That is a challenge scientist are facing.

Another challenge is that the smell lingers even after its need is over. For example, if you are watching a scene with a car chase, you may get an immersive experience with the smell of burnt rubber. But surely you don’t want the smell to be present in the next scene which might involve a scene inside a room.

Although these challenges are being solved, it might take time before they are fully ready.  But one thing is for sure if this innovation is a success then it might help restore individuals who have lost their sense of smell through accidents or illnesses.

Are you as excited about this as we are? Let us know what you think about it.