‘Digital smell’ technology could mean you can send smells via online chats, scientists claim | Daily Mail Online

‘Digital smell’ technology could mean you can send smells via online chats, scientists claim | Daily Mail Online

Fruity, woody, or minty! ‘Digital smells’ sent via electrodes placed inside your nose could let you transmit ODOURS in messaging and dating apps

  • Researchers claim to have created fruity, woody and minty ‘electric smells’
  • They did this by putting electrodes inside participants’ nostrils 
  • This stimulated electrical currents behind the nostril where neurons were found
  • However, critics say that smells might not have been created by electricity 

 

‘It is part of a whole, integrated virtual reality or augmented reality’, lead researcher Adrian Cheok who is the director of the Imagineering Institute in Malaysia told NBC.

‘So, for example, you could have a virtual dinner with your friend through the internet. You can see them in 3D and also share a glass of wine together’, he said.

Researchers created ten different odours for the 31 participants involved in the research.

Dr Cheok believes that one day odours will be sent in digital form over the internet – although he says that it might still be decades away.

The recipient could receive them by wearing glasses or goggles with electrodes in them.

‘The next stage is to produce it in a more controlled manner, and this will allow for people to develop software and products to generate electric smell’, Dr Cheok says.

He believes it could also restore smell to people who have lost it due to illness or an accident.

However, critics say that smells might not have been created by electricity.

Joel Mainland, a neuroscientist at the Monell Chemical Senses Centre told NBC that although it could be possible to create odours using electrical stimulation that might not have happened in this study.

‘If you are asking someone if something smells, they have a strong bias to say yes even where there is no odor’, he said.

Researchers in Malaysia claim to have created fruity, woody and minty 'electric smells' by putting electrodes inside participants' nostrils (stock image) 

Earlier this week, scientists said that zapping the brain by placing electrodes inside the nostrils could bring back someone’s lost sense of smell.

Being able to regain smell would be a breakthrough for millions, as figures estimate up to five per cent of people are unable to process scents.

Doctors at Massachusetts Eye and Ear tested the method on five patients who could already smell. It is the first time the sense has been stimulated this way.

The scientists believe the results open the door for a cochlear implant for the nose.

By placing electrodes in the nose, the nerves in the olfactory bulb were stimulated, and information was sent to the deeper regions of the brain.

Some cases of loss of smell can be treated by caring for an underlying cause, such as blocked sinuses or swelling, where the nasal passage is obstructed and smells can’t reach the brain.

In more complicated cases, the sensory nose may be damaged due to head injury, a virus or ageing, which can lead to anosmia – complete loss of smell.

There are currently no proven therapies for this, but the study proves there are options on the horizon.


‘Digital smell’ technology could mean you can send smells via online chats, scientists claim | Daily Mail Online

‘Digital smell’ technology could mean you can send smells via online chats, scientists claim | Daily Mail Online

By Chris Mahon, Wednesday, 28 November 2018 – 1:53PM

 

Of all the useless projects undertaken by humanity, few have been more difficult, futile, and unpleasant than artificially creating smell, either through electrical impulses or by pumping in smells directly into a room (like the ill-fated Smell-O-Vision). Though smells can trigger emotions and even memories, nobody is really clamoring for a piece of technology that lets you smell someone you’re video-chatting with or sample a catalog of virtual smells (unless it’s one of those fancy air fresheners). Nevertheless, a team of researchers in Malaysia is forging ahead with digital smell technology, and they claim to have made some progress.

During the experiments, 31 participants had an electrodes inserted in their nostrils, which stimulated the receptors in the nose that send signals to the brain to create a sensation of smell. According to the Imagineering Institute, which conducted the study, the researchers were able to evoke 10 different artificial scents, though they weren’t able to control which one the participants smelled.

According to Adrian Cheok, one of the researchers associated with the study: “It’s not just about the smell. It is part of a whole, integrated virtual reality or augmented reality. So, for example, you could have a virtual dinner with your friend through the internet. You can see them in 3D and also share a glass of wine together.”

However, some scientists have doubted the findings of the study. One of them is Charles Spence, of the University of Oxford, who told Mach: “Any everyday smell will probably activate tens or hundreds of receptors. If you have only got one electrode in the nose, no matter what frequency rate or intensity (of electrical current you use) you are not going to be able to stimulate enough receptors to deliver a (perception).”

Joel Mainland, of Monell Chemical Senses Center in the United States, also pointed out that people may believe they can smell a faint odor when they’re told they should be smelling one. According to Mainland, the Malaysia study doesn’t adequately account for this issue.

Either way, we’re not holding our breath (or noses) for the day when you can email someone the scent of a sandwich.


Zapping the Olfactory Bulb Produces Phantom Smells | The Scientist Magazine(R)

 

Zapping the Olfactory Bulb Produces Phantom Smells | The Scientist Magazine(R)

Researchers envision a cochlear implant–like device for the nose to give people with impaired olfaction a sense of smell.

 

By SHAWNA WILLIAMS Nov 27, 2018
The sensation of perceiving a smell can be induced in people by using electrodes to stimulate the brain’s olfactory bulb, researchers report today (November 27) in the International Forum of Allergy & Rhinology. The results, they suggest, are a proof of concept that it would be possible to develop an “olfactory implant system” to aid people with an impaired sense of smell, known as anosmia.

 

“Our work shows that smell restoration technology is an idea worth studying further,” says coauthor Eric Holbrook of Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary in a press release. “The development of cochlear implants, for example, didn’t really accelerate until someone placed an electrode in the cochlea of a patient and found that the patient heard a frequency of some type.”

Holbrook and colleagues enrolled five subjects in the study who were able to smell. Three of them reported perceiving odors not actually present when the researchers stimulated different parts of their olfactory bulbs with electrodes inserted through the nose, a procedure the study authors say caused “minimal discomfort.” Subjects described the smells as “onion-like,” “antiseptic-like,” “sour,” “fruity,” or simply “bad.”

The finding follows a report earlier this year that electrically stimulating structures high up in the nasal cavity produced smell sensations. The scientists who conducted that study at Malaysia’s Imagineering Institute aim to one day transmit smells electronically, reportes IEEE Spectrum—for example, to give restaurant-goers a whiff of dishes on the menu as they decide what to order.

 

See “Regularly Whiffing Essential Oils Can Retrain Sense of Smell

As in the Massachusetts Ear and Eye study, the Imagineering Institute researchers weren’t able to control which odor the subjects perceived. The Malaysian team suggests the digital smells could be transmitted through a noninvasive headset, rather than with electrodes up the nose, which their volunteers found quite uncomfortable. As coauthor Kasun Karunanayaka tells IEEE Spectrum, “A lot of people wanted to participate, but after one trial they left, because they couldn’t bear it.”


Future video chats might include smell along with sight and sound

Future video chats might include smell along with sight and sound

Future video chats might include smell along with sight and sound

Imagine receiving a video chat from a friend that shows him behind a grill, barbecuing some burgers and franks. Now imagine being able to smell that pleasurable BBQ aroma through your phoneAccording to NBC News, digital smell technology is something that we could all be experiencing in the future. In Malaysia, experiments were recently conducted on 31 test subjects. The scientists working on the project had to place electrodes inside the noses of all 31 volunteers.
The electrodes transmitted weak electrical currents into neurons found above the nostrils. These neurons send impulses to the brain, which create the sense of smell. With the electrical impulses, the researchers were able to get the subjects to smell virtual recreations of ten different odors including fruity, woody and minty. Unfortunately,  the scientists could not control which of the smells were experienced by the subjects.
According to one of the scientists, Adrian Cheok, the technology could eventually be used to send smells over the internet with electrodes replaced by goggles. After all, not too many consumers would be willing to put electrodes in their nose every time they are in the middle of a video chat.
Recently, a product called Cyrano was marketed as a digital scent speaker, able to produce different smells on command from a smartphone app. But critics called it a high-tech air freshener. As long as there are scientists willing to work on transmitting odors, eventually there could be a time when sending smells over a smartphone is as easy as sending a text or email.

‘Digital smell’ technology could let you send ODOURS in dating apps – Mirror Online

‘Digital smell’ technology could let you send ODOURS in dating apps

Researchers have been able to evoke 10 different virtual smells, including fruity, woody and minty

 

It’s one of the most evocative senses, and now your sense of smell you be stimulated through odours sent in online chats.

Researchers from the Imagineering Institute in Malaysia have developed ‘digital smell technology’, that could let you send smells online.

Speaking to NBC News, Adrian Cheok, one of the researchers behind the system, said: “It’s not just about the smell.

“It is part of a whole, integrated virtual reality or augmented reality.

“So, for example, you could have a virtual dinner with your friend through the internet. You can see them in 3D and also share a glass of wine together.”

Normally, odours are transmitted by airborne molecules that enter your nose.

But in this system, the researchers used electrodes in the nostrils to deliver weak electrical currents to simulate smells.

 

During tests on 31 participants, the team was able to evoke 10 different virtual smells, including fruity, woody and minty.

Dr Cheok added: “The next stage is to produce it in a more controlled manner, and this will allow for people to develop software and products to generate electric smell.”
In terms of practical uses, the researchers believe that the system could one day be used in cinemas, to give viewers a more immersive experience.

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