20 Dec 2014
Virtual scent seekers in pursuit of that scent-selfie, fragrant floral photo, or a scent to accompany that Instagram food shot may be in luck. Debate continues, however, over whether scent technology will be the next leading tech breakthrough in 2015.
Technology already exists to send scent digital smells with Japanese application and cell phone attachment Scentee, reports Nesta. Though not yet mainstream, “Scentee uses alcohol-based aroma cartridges which come in specific flavours and are housed inside a small plastic device that attaches to the headphone input of a smartphone.”
New research being developed by Scentee technology creator Adrian Cheok, a professor at City University London, would eliminate the need for those scent cartridges but would employ the possibly undesirable option of a mouthguard device that would send magnetic signals reportedly stimulating the olfactory bulb.
First conceived fifty years back and long considered a stinker, Nesta forecasts scent transmission as one of its top 10 predictions for 2015.
Research has not been waylaid over scent technology naysayers. At the University of California San Diego, researchers released results in 2011 of a two-year experiment regarding adding scents to a television or cell phone experience. Questions remained at the time that continue today as to the widespread appeal of such technology to consumers.
Scent technology-pursuing companies continue in their quest for success. Nesta also brings up oPhone, “a pipe-shaped device made for receiving scent messages (called oNotes) triggered by an iPhone app called oSnap.”
Improvement of scent tech mechanics is also accompanied by the effects of implementing the technology. Nesta reports Professor Cheok and a City University team of researchers have been “studying the effect of synthetic smells, sent via the Internet, on emotions.”
While past opinion has been set against scent tech, researchers continue to put effort into both the mechanics of transmission and the effectiveness-evidence to sell the worth of the product.