iSmell Trouble!

Not exactly the most recent of developments, but in line with the happenings on the net; quite a while ago in 1999, a company called DigiScent Inc. invented the iSmell, a smell synthesizer that would be used to involve more of our senses on the net.

Hey and since we’re already in the frontiers of virtual reality and augmented reality, why not get our noses too involved in this battle of the senses? Or so they thought. But here’s where things start to smell fishy (pun intended!)

The main problem is, unlike light and sound, smell is not something that can be instantly or precisely controlled. For instance you can accurately control brightness and volume, and the best part is they both cease to exist once the source is switched off – in our case pull the plug and you can plunge the room into silent darkness. But with smell, being organic molecules, they tend to waft around long after the source is removed.

The other problem is direction: With sound you can precisely direct it – whether it is to a 71. Surround system or a tiny pair of headphones to the individual. What about iSmell? Turn it on and the whole house starts to smell. Of course, our human senses are partly to blame for this as well – unlike hearing, we humans can’t accurately judge the direction a smell is coming from. (By the way, bumble bees can!)

And the other thing is something called ‘olfactory fatigue’ which means that after a while, our noses get used to a certain smell and don’t recognize it anymore.

iSmell might’ve been a good idea; but with the issues at hand I guess we’ll have to agree that this is one concept that in reality, just stinks!