Electronic Way of Smelling

Electronic way of smelling combines the power of science with the sense of smell. But…Emerging technologies will make possible computer-mediated scent. Computers will be able to control the output of smells as easily as they currently control video or audio. Scents can be used in a symbolic way, released as cues to signify an event or condition.
The following presentation would explore the history of smell science, focusing on the past, present and future of smell synthesis machinery. By knowing the history of this technology would tell us that scents can be used as symbols to convey information, as a unique and powerful enhancement to communication, advertising, entertainment systems.
The technology would also be useful in some internet work by means of snortal. The Scratch-N-Sniff Web Page works by first digitizing and then compressing into Stimulant Nasal Information Format (SNIF) which is used for broadcasting on the NET. A design or a Prototype of the device is covered which build a more accurate smell output device, or the ability to mix two smells and vary the concentration whenever needed. The whole assembly of the electronic smell Kit contains the ScentStream software, Scent Ware Development Kit, Scent Index of Scent Objects, Scent Mixer and Tracker which go hand in hand for the creation and broadcasting of scents on the internet.
To smell is to believe!
Scents have an immediate and compelling effect. The sensors in your nose, by contrast, can sense as many as 10,000 different odors. Scents are unambiguous and unmistakable. It is the medium that makes us decide instinctively. Until now, online communication involved only three of our senses. Soon it will involve a fourth, as new technology is being developed to appeal to our sense of smell.
As broadcasting smell on the Internet would do wonders, consequently there has been a large amount of research into the effects of smell on human behavior. Smell is a potent wizard that transports us across thousands of miles and all the years we have lived. We can communicate by smell without knowing it. In fact the sense of smell could be said to be at the mind-body interface.

The Return of the scent:
A few years ago, Dexter Smith and Joel Bellenson were vacationing bio-technology executives found themselves overwhelmed by all the wonderful smells of Miami’s south beach. They thought about the idea of digitizing them and formed DigiScents to create the hardware and software necessary to digitize and reproduce smells. DigiScents Company had the basic outline of scent recording and reproduction technology ready for launching.
After that a neurobiologist Linda Buck in 1991 discovered the family of genes responsible for odor detection. In 1998, researchers in Stuart Firestone’s lab at Columbia engineered a virus to stimulate a rat’s odor receptors, heightening its experience of smell and theoretically, paving the way for the genetic “transplant” of receptors from one type of animal to another.
In 1999 February: 1999, Oakland, California.-based DigiScents has been working on a way to encode smells into a computer file that can be delivered over the Internet in a number of ways, including embedding it in a Web page or sending it as an email attachment. It was also successful in the creation of a scent index and then used trial and error to fine-tune the odors, testing them on an odor output device they would design.

3.1 How do we smell: a brief introduction?
Brief understanding of the sensory perception of smell is necessary to understand some fundamental facts about how computer generated smell can and cannot work by taking a quick look to the working of the human nose. The nose can distinguish more than 10 thousand different smells. This is because we have 20 million smell sensors in the inner part of the nostrils. Any color can thus be mapped in three dimensions. Mapping a smell would require a 1000-dimensional space. This is the fundamental problem of computerized smell production. The olfactory system can distinguish thousands of odors.
The brain may interpret as different odors. The appropriate molecule and receptor fuse, a sequence of events is initiated. Scientists are just beginning to learn how the olfactory system works. They are discovering:
1. Processes thought to underlie odor recognition.
2. Ways odors may affect human behavior.
3. Strategies for helping people who suffer from anosmia.

With a home page, every user sees exactly the same page. With a portal, every user sees a web page customized to him or her. The customization of this is done by software that uses its knowledge of the person for whom it displays a portal web page.
The Snortal (A smell based portal), the Internet’s first a scent-enabled Web portal, is a web site for all. When applied to communications, scent becomes a new information channel. Snortal is nothing less than one company’s attempt to bring downloadable odors to the Internet. The software, which can be downloaded off the DigiScents “snortal”, triggers the hardware to release the right smells at the right time. This is truly a multimedia experience. The user’s favourite scent will be re-created on the desktop!
The plan is to integrate the olfactory sense just like the visual and audible components in the computer world. Millions of Internet users are supposed to experience scentography – the art of scent in combination with multi media -through the Media Player. The Snortal will carry information on scent development, samples, and access to all the latest in scent-related hardware and software. DigiScents, Inc. California Company is developing the technology for digitizing, transmitting, and synthesizing scent. . Scent-Stream technology will encode odors as data, so that objects on Web sites “broadcast” odors from a small peripheral scent synthesizer. “Digital Scent Technology” is like a language of smells along with the hardware, software components and a special device called the iSmell Personal Scent Synthesizer (iSmell). This portal will use specialized hardware to allow you to smell thousands of different aromas that will be keyed to products you are viewing on the web. The snortal, a scent portal, will be a hub for smell-enhancing tools and a community of smell-aholics.
Just as we can download digitized music and play it through speakers attached to a computer, we should soon be able to acquire online scent data that a little gadget can play back as smells. A digital index of scents will license developers to integrate into games, Web sites, ads, movies, and music. They have over 1000 scents in their Scent Registry. The self-professed Snortal will deliver their ScentStream software to users of the Real Player, which is an updated scent stream.
Scratch-n-Sniff Web Page: This webpage will be updated often as new smell files are released. DigiScents iSmell, which accepted digital signals from sites of the Web and convert them in hundreds of simulated “cheiros.” The scents will be digitized and then uploaded on the NET. Smells are collected at their source, digitized, and compressed into a Stimulant Nasal Information Format, a SNIF file, which can be copied and transferred like any other computer file. When loaded by a SNIF-compliant web browser, the user’s computer un-compresses the SNIF file and maps the scent texture to a specific area of the computer screen. It has long been known that computer screens naturally create areas of complex ionization, also known as static electricity, which attract small-ionized particles from the air. This process can be used to reconfigure the “dust” on the screen into scent-bearing configurations, which can then be released by a user’s fingernail.
Sample scents: If your browser supports SNIF file technology, the active screen areas will pulse with a colorful pattern. This means the dust on your screen is being reconfigured to carry the listed scent. The more dust built up on your monitor, the stronger the scent will become. Thus in this way the concentration of the scent contents is decided.
1. Digital Scent Technology needs a few things for creating and broadcasting the scents through the Internet. Scent Stream software, which drives the operation of the iSmell in coordination with various media.
2. The Scent Registry, a digital index of scents that the company will license to developers to integrate into games, Web sites, advertisements, movies, and music.

A way of sending smells to you via your desktop is through this system. The Personal Scent Synthesizer, a computer peripheral device that emits fragrances to enhance multimedia experiences.
The system uses a personal scent synthesizer called as I-smell that attaches to your computer via your serial or USB port and plugs into the wall for an electrical outlet. I-Smell peripheral is of about the size and shape of an electric pencil sharpener, which exudes scents on command. The iSmell is small and designed to release tiny amounts of odor. The iSmell emits thousands of naturally based vapors into the user’s personal space. The iSmell device is designed to release smells to a distance of up to 24 to 30 inches, aided by the silent internal fan.



Fig. 5.1: Prototype Design

This device really does look like a nose. It’s a muted navy blue arch, reminiscent of a pipe organ, with a rounded nostril-like fan at the base. Theoretically, this device can produce almost any smells existing. The initial version of tests will be able to generate hundreds of basic scents that, agreed, are capable to create a number of [2 raised to power (2128)] odors.
There inside, a small fan sucks the air of the behind part of the device, blowing it through special tubenose of oils that are selectively warm taking care of to the digital commands defendants for computer. The air that passes “grasps” these agreed oil particles and exhales the resultant aroma for grooves of 5 centimeters.

Fig. 5.2: Scent Palette Cartridges

The cartridge has twenty (20) specific chambers, which contain twenty (20) assorted aromas and fragrances. Each chamber is totally independent of the other chambers. This separation of the chambers ensures a true fidelity of the fragrances and aromas. Within those chambers, the fragrances and aromas alike are stored in a small container, the proprietary dispersion mechanism, which holds a volume capacity of 7cc. This allows hundreds of uses from a standard solution provided by Fragrance Houses. Each proprietary dispersion mechanism can provide dispersions up to fifty times. With a forty (40) palette generic system consisting of two (2) cartridges (20 chambers on each cartridge), the Scent Dome can create thousands of new renditions. The Scent Dome is shipped to customers with two generic cartridges, one with your food aromas and one with your fragrance aromas.
The product includes a hardware peripheral that selectively heats scented oil cartridges, which sucks scents in exact combinations to produce specific odors. The consumable cartridges which could be re-filled with chemicals are used, when mixed, could recreate most any smell. Tiny bits of data would come in over the Net to tell your dispenser the smell to make. I-Smell currently can produce 2 to 128th power smells with the iSmell Personal Scent Synthesizer.


Fig.5.3: Working of the Scent Synthesizer

Although the implementation of computer-based smells is quite scientific, the basic idea is really quite simple. A scent is digitized based on its molecular composition and its interaction with neuro-receptors in the brain. The iSmell is a peripheral, which has nose that samples a smell and breaks it into a set of basic building block scents. Later, when re-creation of the smell is required, the scent file can be “played” on a scent device that re-mixes the basic scent elements to duplicate the original smell.
This information is then digitized and recorded for future use. A prototype of the iSmell Personal Scent Synthesizer is shaped like a shark’s fin and it will be connected to your PC .The iSmell scent cartridges contain mostly natural materials commonly found in the cosmetics, foods and beverages in common daily use.”If a picture is worth a thousand words, a scent is worth a thousand pictures” The digitization and embedding of smell works as follows:
1. DigiScents has indexed thousands of smells based on their chemical structure and their place on the scent spectrum.
2. Each scent is then coded and digitized into a small file.
3. The digital file is embedded in Web content or email.
4. A user requests or triggers the file by clicking a mouse or opening an e-mail.
5. A small amount of the aroma is emitted by the device in the direct vicinity of the user.
6. In practice, only one or two people around a PC can smell anything.
The I-Smell can create thousands of everyday scents with a small cartridge that contains 128 primary odors. These primary odors are mixed together to generate other smells that closely replicate common natural and man made odors. It contains a cartridge of basic scent water based chemicals for scent production, which are generic in nature.
It takes a number of seconds for the iSmell device to “render” the scent, 1 to 10 seconds depending on complexity. Further, the iSmell only renders one scent at a time. In this sense, different routes exist. According to the existing information, the creator of iSmell will be a synthesizer of scents in the home, at which the aromas will arrive after being made the following process:
1. The aroma through an object is catalogued through two parameters: chemical composition and its position within the phantom of aromas
2. The digital document is sent like an (attached document) to anyone, through Internet, to heighten the content of the Web.

The new art form of Scentography
Scentography is a new form of expression that allows the integration of scents with traditional digital multimedia. The capability to digitize and broadcast scents and communicate with it will enable vendors and consumers to send scented mail and watch scented DVDs, and play scented games and simulations is termed as Scentography.
Indexing a particular scent by analyzing the chemical makeup and placing it on a scent spectrum chart is done for broadcasting on the net different scents. Thousands of different scents can be recreated through combinations of one or more of 128 basic scents. The scent is digitized and broadcast over the Internet, then analyzes the molecular structure and sensory perception of an odor and software (Scent Stream) codes it. Its software, Scent Stream will contain Scent Registry, a bank of data of various odors. To ensure odor authenticity a “Scent Registry” a digital index of thousands of scents is developed so that the company will license to developers to integrate into games, Web sites, advertisements, movies and music.

ScentStream Software:
The form to digitize the aromas was discovered by the multiple initiated experiences, which resulted into “genetic software”. In the case of the aromas, this is obtained with the mixture of chemical elements and a map of scents. The difference between this and the genetic software is that it does not use the classic system of digitalization of codes of zeros and ones. Whereas, in the process of transformation of the scents in codes, the scent is digitized on the basis of its molecular configuration and its reaction with the sensory receptor.
Scent Ware Developers Kit: Software Developers Kit (SDK) includes the tools required to create scent-enabled content and media. The SDK includes Reminiscent Database of Scent Objects, iSmell API and Drivers, and ScentStream Player and Server. The first version of the Scent Ware software kit for developers will be for Windows and Java. The company said it also is working on a version for the Macintosh. About 3,500 developers have so far requested the kit in order to develop scent-enabled Websites.
Reminiscent Database of Scent Objects: This will contain the information or the data related to the scent map. Scents that can be incorporated into digital media. The company will license these scents to developers to integrate into games, web sites, advertisements, movies, and music.
Scent Mixer and Scent Tracker: Scent Dome device is controlled by software running on a personal computer. This proprietary software developed for the Scent Dome. Accordingly the Working of the scent mixer and scent tracker will work.


  • Mapping a smell would required a thousand dimensional space. This is the fundamental problem of computerized smell productions.
  •  The i-smell personal scent synthesizer emits teeny tiny amounts of scent for the enjoyment of one or two people sitting in the front of the device.



    o A new tool for detecting Degenerative Neurological Diseases early i.e. Aromatherapy.
    o Education.
    o Movies.
    o Music Alive with Smell.
    o Gaming and Cars.
    o Emails
    o Electronics Greeting Cards
    o Advertising


• If the iSmell becomes rather popular, sure there will be special sort of viruses for it. The popular scents could be hacked by the hackers and misuse them without authority.
• Another problem in how a database of smells can be created that would be independent of both input and output devices. Each company is working on its own database.
• The obvious one is the price. Most home computer users won’t be willing to pay the $250-500.

DigiScent and iSmell technology cope up with the real world in all aspects of perceptions and senses can proudly say “Microsoft bring computer closer to the brain but we bring computer closer to the heart”.
It has been clear that if this technology succeeds then there is no bound for the marketing world and a new “Digital Scent Revolution” will emerge. DigiScents Inc California is the pioneer of electronic olfactory concept. The company has developed a complete hardware and software platform for incorporating scent into all forms of media. The exterior design of the unit may change slightly to make it resemble the kind of loudspeakers sold with multimedia PC setups. It would be nice to imagine that besides toner and ink cartridges will be the smell packs for our new PCs.

[1] ECE Department, University of Illinois, “A Style Guide for ECE Theses and Dissertations”, http://www.ece.uiuc.edu/pubs/style_guide/contents.html
[2] ^ http://chemse.oxfordjournals.org/content/25/4/429.full
Alpha M.O.S, a full range of solutions for odor and taste profiling in R&D and QC
[6] http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/xpl/freeabs_all.jsp?arnumber=5491429

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