Virtual Smells Back Yet Again… And The Idea Still Stinks

from the please,-stop-the-stench dept

The idea of sending smells over the internet has been around for quite some time. In fact, one early web design shop created a “spoof” site for “RealAroma” as a play off of RealNetworks original product RealAudio. However, over the years we keep seeing real companies jump on the iSmell bandwagon. Digiscents got a ton of press coverage during the dot com bubble only to flop. In 2004, we heard of a company trying to resurect the idea, followed by a different company trying the same thing in 2005. If you haven’t heard much about these lately, it might be because the idea stinks (literally and figuratively). They’re all based on the same basic concept. You have to have a special device that has various “scents” that can be released via digital alerts to provide that right overall aroma.

It appears that the idea is now being revived once again, this time in Japan. NTT, the huge telco in Japan, is trying to offer a similar technology, though it’s being marketed slightly differently. Rather than just adding smells to your daily internet surfing experience, the idea is that you can email or text message the scent machine from afar to set off a nice smell in your home, such that when you arrive, everything smells pretty. If you’re already in the house, you can control the device via an infrared connection on your phone. Of course, that doesn’t mean there isn’t the “smell while your surf” option as well. The article describes how you could send someone virtual roses while also setting their smell-o-nator to offer up a rose scent. I would suggest, by the way, that you never do anything to piss off whoever has access to your smell generator. That might get downright putrid.

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