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I-Smell Technology

By pateljatin Sep 04, 2011 3470 Words

The technology has so far targeted mainly our sence of sight and sound. To further enhance the virtual reality experience and another flavor to it, technology is now targeting your nose and tongue. The application area of virtual reality is vast- from normal entertainment to the Internet and e-commerce application. You will be able to smell product before buying them online. California-based Digiscents Inc. has developed the iSmell personal scent synthesizer. This small device connects through your pc via serial port and has its own driver.



All have been attempting to master the latest technological advancement of the elusive and rapidly changing computer industry, something with a different twist has been fermenting in the corners of virtual reality. Have u noticed anything missing at your latest catch-up-with-technology in service course? Listening to the music, sending mails, searching journals on-line appears to have become common practice. Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be able to smell the flowers that you order online before purchasing them? Or be able to “taste-smell” a variety of perfumes while surfing the web? Being able to mechanically recreate one of the five sences, namely smell, has been in the works for quite some time now. A company called DigiScents believes they have the goods to revolutionize the way we think of smell. They have recently teamed up with Quest International One of the world’s leading fragrance, flavor and food ingredients manufacturers with particular strengths in sensory design and consumer understanding. Together, they envision a vast array of new opportunities; mostly in the way they plan on making this new technology profitable. iSmell is 3”x 2”x 5” little box-like device made by DigiScents promises to deliver the critical and much anticipated dimension of aroma to one’s latest computer encounter. Bellenson first introduced the device as a prototype add on to an IBM ThinkPad which will ultimately be capable of emitting 12050 different combinations of odour. Addign fragrances to film-clips are not an entirely new idea. Back in the 50’s, the American public was introduced to such memorable highlights as Aroma-Rama and Smell-o-vision. A variety of scents fille theaters and accompanied several different motion pictures including, Behind the Great Wall. Bellenson and Smith stumbled upon the idea of designing an odour synthesizer after exploring avenues for improving the smell of food. They stated that “Taste is 95% aroma; your tongue can only detect sweet, sour, bitter, and salty. All other tastes are a function of the nose.

Coding of aromas would be downloaded to computer similar to graphics images as audible sounds. Ultimately users will be able to create and modify their own fragrances and post them on the internet!(2000). Also discussed the potential for creating smell capture cameras, which could add fragrances coding to images and sounds.


Digiscents or the digital scent revolution.
Digiscents is an American company specialized in the “perfumed web”. There digital fragrances software makes it possible for beauty websites,for instence. To let their visitors smell their perfumes and beauty products.Digiscents introduced the iSmell synthesizer in October 2000. The size of a small loudspeaker, the machine is linked to a computer and recognizes hidden instructions from a web-page or a games console to reconstruct a smell from its scent-based of 128 essential oils,and transmit it. The founders,Joel Lloyd Bellenson (MD) and Dexter Smith (Chairman) started from the following idea: “If we can find the essence of a biological smell and build a profile, we can digitalize and broadcast it.” (From an interview with Reuters). The two had earlier founded Double Twist, a world leader in biotechnology.




Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be able to smell the flowers that you order online before purchasing them? Or be able to “taste-smell” a variety of perfumes while surfing the web? DigiScents,Inc, introduced its iSmell system in November 2000, which scent-enables web sites, e-mails,interactive games,on-line advertising,and many more. The iSmell is a personal synthesizer that emits a broad range of fragrances.

ISmell Digital Scent Technology is a complete solution for the digitization,broadcast and synthesis of smells to accompany all forms of media! ISmell is a plug-in computer accessory that contains a basic palette of scented oils from which a bouquet of different smells can be created. 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. Ismell device can be linked via serial cable,sits a black plastic box 3 inches tall,2 inches wide and 5 inches deep,about the size of an electric pencil sharpener. Sometimes inside it a little fan is attached that starts whirring,drawing in air at the back and blowing it over tiny cials of oils that are being heated selectively in response to signals from the computer. The air picks up the oily fragrances and wafts it out through a 2 inch vent.Digiscent has proposed four models of iSmell device among them one is slightly smaller than telephone and others are of fin-shaped. Now, when shopping online,you may soon simply click on a perfume and smell it through your computer! Or you may be able to send an email to your friend woth the smell of roses or chocolate! Or, how would you like to play video games and smell the environment you are playing in or watch a movie that gives you the scent of an autumn bonfire! So,what will iSmell technology achieve? It will make advertising more engaging and memorable.

3.2 How Does it Work?


The iSmell device was incorporated in February 2000 by DigiScents founders, Joel Lloyd Bellenson and Dexster Smilth. DigiScents developed the iSmell scent "player" and scent cartridge. The cartridge, modeled after a print cartridge, is made up of scent creating materials similar to those used in the food and cosmetic industry. The iSmell device, which is pictured above, attaches to your computer and "plays" small amounts of scent. Here's how the overall program works:

* DigiScents indexes thousands of smells based on their chemical structure and their place on the scent spectrum * Each scent is then coded and digitized into a small file.
* The digital file is embedded in Web content or email.
* A user requests or triggers the file by clicking a mouse or opening an email. * A small amount of the aroma is emitted by the device in the direct vicinity of the user. The iSmell cartridge contains 128 primary odors. When these 128 odors are mixed, thousands of other scents are created. The iSmell device can be turned off at any time and users can block any unwork.



4.1 DigitizedScent.
A scene is indexed along two parameters, its chemical makeup and its place in the scent”spectrum”,and then digitized into a small file.

4.2 Broadcast.
The digital file is scent, attached to enhanced web content.

4.3 Synthesize.
DigiScent’s iSmell, which connects to the user’s computer like a set of speakers, synthesis the smell from a palette of “primary odours”, following the guidelines of the digital file. iSmell technology turns smell into digital codes that can be stored on laser discs or as computer files, and it can even be emailed. It reads the digital scent file, creates a smell from a ”palette” of 128 chemicals stored in a catridge, which wafts into the air with a small fan.

4.4 The complete product:
DigiScents is developing a complete solution for scent-enabling the Internet and all forms of digital media, including: iSmell Personal Scent Synthesizer: A computer peripheral device which recreates Scent Objects by mixing and releasing one or more of 128 scents. The device includes replaceable cartridges similar to those used in color printers. 4.4.1 ScentPalette Cartridges:

Consider cartridges contained inside the iSmell device. The cartridges are filled with over one hundred different fragrant materials that are emitted alone or incombination. In addition to the general purpose of Scent Palette there is a possibility of creating industry Specific cartridges for every thing from fragrances and food to games and movies.


“Sentware” is a combination of SoftWare and Hardware.
There are two types of software. One allows you to “Design” your own custom fragrances, and the other allows you to receive the codes for a custom scent and have them activate a spray device so you can smell it. The design software is often as simple as a web page with pictures of familiar scents (apple pie, popcorn, fresh rain, flowers ) that you can “drag” with your mouse into a virtual beaker and mix. The combinations you choose can be saved as a custom fragrance, which gets stored as “codes” to be passed to a spray device. The spray device is a piece of hardware that can be plugged into one of the serial ports of your computer, the way a printer plugs in. This device has a disposable carteidge with a number of chambers inside, each containing a chemical compound that can be mixed with others to match the custom scent you’ve created. 5.1 iSMELL A SNORTAL ON THE WEB

Smith said the pair got the idea of wiring the Internet for smell during a vacation in Miami's vibrant South Beach.
``We were overwhelmed by the perfumes that people were wearing, all the sensory input,'' Smith said. ``We thought: This is a biological phenomenon, this is in our domain. We should be able to understand this and build a company out of it.'' They quickly got building and soon the Oakland, California-based DigiScents had the concept down. First, there is the ``iSmell,'' a plug-in computer accessory that will contain a basic palette of scented oils from which a bouquet of different smells can be created.

Functioning like the MP3 players that download music from the Internet, the iSmell will take its orders from DigiScent's
''ScentStream'' software, which will translate online digital cues for different smells into specific orders for the portable perfume factory. To ensure odor authenticity, DigiScent has created a ``Scent Registry,'' a digital index of thousands of scents that the company will license to developers to integrate into games, Web sites, advertisements, movies and music. To round it out, the company plans to create a ``Snortal'' on the Web to give people a chance to sniff for themselves. There is real science behind all this. Bellenson, who once ran a Stanford University lab specializing in DNA synthesis, has drawn up models for the way odor molecules bind with the some 10 million odor-detecting neurons on a human nose, a step toward establishing the Scent Registry that will underpin the concept.

DigiScent's founders hope that by licensing their scent spectrum, they will create a world of smells for the Internet generation -- perfumes you can smell online, computer games with the whiff of the jungle or the tang of jet fuel, movies that give audiences the scents of an autumn bonfire.

``The sense of smell is closely tied to memory and emotion, making scent a powerful way to reinforce ideas,'' Bellenson said. ``If a picture is worth a thousand words, a scent is worth a thousand pictures.''

5.2 Smell-o-Vision!
"Smell-o-vision?" Just what are we talking about here? In the past century we became used to the transmission of sights and sounds through the airwaves and via the Internet. In essence, "transmission" of visual and auditory information relies on the electronic coding of waves of electromagnetic energy (light waves) or of waves of vibrations in a medium (sound waves), the sending of this coded information, the decoding of this information in a receiver (radio, television, computer, etc.), and the creation of new light or sound waves based on this information. But scents? Odors? Smell and taste are the chemical senses. How do we transmit chemicals via the Internet? Although the concept sending digitized scents via the Internet from computer to computer may have seemed bizarre a few years ago, a number of companies are creating hardware and software that will enable it (Biersdorfer, 2000; Poniewozik, 2000).


Where is iSmell Used ?


According to Brian Nelson at DigiScents, "What kind of smells can be emitted by the iSmell device? Just about anything you can imagine." There are many applications for digital scent technology such as: * send scented email

* watch scented DVD's
* play scented video games
* sample a perfume from a beauty product's website
* smell the assortment of freshly brewed coffees for sale in their online store .

6.1 Why Would You Want to Do This?
There are four basic types of applications that scentware seems a logic fit for at the moment. • Marketing
• Entertainment
• Education
• Medical

6.1.1Multisensory Marketing:
Death to Banner Ads - Let the Nose Lead the WayCommerce tends to lead development, which is why some of the bigger scentware developers, like TriSenx, are partnering with companies that just plain smell. Perfume manufactures are an obvious fit. They would be able to benefit from doing market research across the net, emailing you samples of some new fragrance they might be trying out to see how you like it, and using your feedback to shape the final product. And the heck with scratch-and-sniff cards in your favorite magazine. Now you’ll smell their latest and greatest when arrive at your favorite women’s website or online boutique. Other companies who’ve taken the bait besides the cosmetics, fragrance, and health and industries? - restaurants and specialty food shops who know the smell of pizza wafting out of your PC, or may be mom’s chocolate chip cookies, will just be too much too resist. It adds a new dimension to the point-of-sale marketing angle. You’re visiting a website that is known to attract a large number of people from a particular demographics. The heck with banner advertising when the marketer has a better way to get you hooked on what they’re hocking.


7.1 E-mail Alive with smell

Of all the uses for scentware, this one scares be most the ability to send emails with smells anybody can design. Sure, it’ll add a fun new dimension to Valentine’s Day when you can send an electronic postcard with nice music and a dozen roses that smell real, but can you imagine the legions of alternatives your friends ( and others ) will opt for? Dirty sneakers, wet dogs May be worse assaults to your delicate sensibilities will be within the reach of email artists and spammers alike.

There are, however, more creative uses of scentware in bringing to life the stories we tell through more traditional mediums. Who’s looking at smell-o-vision now? Movie theatres who want to top surround-sound are now looking at mounting surround-smell devices on theatre chairs. This might be great if you’re watching some nice, homey flick full of gardens and cherry pie, but imagine watching one of tTom Green’s latest romps, complete to the way that’ll have you out of your chair. Of course there are also the movies you bring home. Will your next DVD come complete with a soundtrack AND smelltrack? For authors and music composers the idea of adding taste and smell to their creative conjuring seems irresistible. Words can be powerful stimulators of imagined tastes and smells, but the ability to bring those exact things to life may make the electronic distribution of storytelling an even more tempting channel. Perhaps a glimpse of the evolution of mega bookstores and internet cafes?

2. Education
Tapping Into Another Information ChannelYou neede only to walk into a bakery or popcorn-filled theatre to realize the powerful ability of smell to invoke memory.
It’s this power that makes the addition of scent to the classroom experience such an interesting new ally. I don’t know about you, but reading about Shakespeare or Napoleon out of a textbook was rarely inspiring. Had you given me the chance to “interact” with history through the sites, sounds tastes and smells of that time, you’d probably have had me hooked.

Virtual field trips have become an invaluable tool for bringing important experience into the classroom where time or geography may otherwise prevent them. The addition of Smell is acknowledge as a tool that enhances the memory of that experience, and amount of knowledge that is retained because of it. 7.3 Medical

A new Tool for Catching Degenerative Neurological Diseases Early Aromatherapy will perhaps be one of the big drivers of home computer scentware sales. In addition to ergonomically correct keyboards and mice, music while we work, and even computer-based workouts to help you keep fit, you can now add smell to your list of tools for increasing personal wellbeing. The benefits of aromatherapy go beyond personal pleasure. It’s valued within



Limitations Of This Technology

The obvious one is the price. Most home computer users won’t be willing to pay the $250-500+ price tag for the luxury of scratch-and-sniff websites. Some diehard game fans may find the olfactory add-on a worthwhile boost to their multimedia experience, but chances are this technology will find its first strong market in small kiosks and other speciality shops.

While many fragrance manufacturess will find the ability to use scentware for both market research and the generation of new sales, most of the “ScentWare” application available today operate at a very simple level and aren’t capable of reproducing the very complex protein level of molecule modeling that commercial fragrances require. Speciality food marketers will face the same problem . While pizza, popcorn and apple pie are already stock smells in a number of scentware collections, exact replicas of some of the more complex “branded” foods that big distributors want to entice you with just won’t be possible yet. While a few year’s old, the technology is still immature, and will require a committed partners and reasonable investment to customize the results in a way that’s suitable for companies whose smell is their branding.


When DigiScents debuted in November 2000, the idea had its
Skeptics. Analysts at that time called scent more of a novelty than anything Else-scent was the least important sense in the scheme of game development.
During 2000, DigiScents could not find more venture capital fundingTo move beyond developing prototypes. Although the iSmell device had Failed, it had proved successful during the time of its peak. DiigScents Distributed nearly 5,000 software developer kits.

At the end of the year 2000, DigiScents had launched their “Snortal”. On the Internet (“sniff +portal”)to allow surfers to discuss, learn ,smell ,create and register perfumes and smells ,and even send perfumed email MessagesAccording to Reuters, Americans has experience the first “perfumed”. Advertising campaigns and Internet sites, while the first “scent-speakers” will Be available from early 2001.It remains to be seen at what retail price. DigiScents main focus was” combining biotechnology, informatics, and sensory research to create a digital platform that will revolutionize the world.

Digiscents were awarded the “best technology “ prize durint the Retail Vision 2001 ceremony, for the past ten years one of the major honour in the IT retailers industry. 2,500 developers have already applied for the ScentWare Developers Kit which was launched in March 2000 and is used to create “Scented games and multimedia applications.

Wondering what will be the next product? How about tasting things online may be!


A Scent has a strange power over human beings. It can create a mood, such as foreshadowing or abbiance. It can intensify emotions such as fear or love. It can also give the sensation of virtual reality and supension of disbelief.

“The Sence of smell is closely tied to memory and emotion, making scent a powerful way to reinforce ideas”.


[1] symbolic Olfactory Display by - Joseph ‘jofish kaye Thesis Proposal for the degree of master of science
At the massaccusetts institute of technology
Winter –2000

[2] Towards an odor communication system. By- D.Harel,L. Carmel Department of computer science and applied Mathematics.





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