Combining current techniques used in electronic cigarette and electronic nose could provide the next steps towards digital transmission of smell and taste.
We connect with the world around us using our different senses. Today sight and sound entertains and engages us to the digital world. Going beyond this digital vision and sound experience has been a pursuit since decades. With advent of electronic cigarettes and electronic nose technology we could be inching closer towards engaging our other senses and hence potentially open up new dimensions in the overall digital experience.
Advent of electronic cigarettes as digital smell and taste generators
Advent of electronic cigarette flavors opens up possibility of vaporizing complex smells ( and taste ) in the real world. The primary focus of the vapors available in the market is towards pleasure and compact packaging. Sometimes these aerosols could be addictive and harmful for long-term health of it’s users. However the underlying technology opens up a digital interface of smell and taste. Smell could be digitally encoded and transmitted over internet . The receiving end could potentially produce appropriate vapors based on transmitted “smell code” over the internet. This intended smell could be produced by vaporizing appropriate e-cigarette liquid (e-liquid). The e-liquid producing the closest smell will give a realistic experience. Hence e-cigarette could be a framework for the digital smell and taste generators.
Automating the digital smell transmission with with electronic nose
Whilst digital smell generators may be realized with electronic cigarettes at the user end , could the transmission of smell be automated from the broadcasting end ? Electronic nose technology could act like a digital smell transmitter. Industrial use of electronic nose to accurately detect toxic gases and alarm the intended odors to a central monitoring system is well known. So digital smell transmission could be based on this digital nose framework where multiple odors could be accurately detected and digitally transmitted by suitable smell encoding.
Does digital smell transmission make any commercial sense ?
Smell as a medium of digital engagement may not seem to make a lot of commercial sense today, however there could be potential customer segments in the future which could drive digital transmission of smell over internet.
With major internet platforms like YouTube, Spotify, Instagram etc. taking over the majority of the audiovisual market and with ever growing internet connectivity there will be an appetite in the near future to explore other areas of human experience. Sense of smell is one such new avenue which can open up new level of human engagement with the internet. Connected smart devices like augmented reality / virtual reality ( AR/VR) headsets are currently trending for providing a more realistic audiovisual experience and enhancing the overall user experience. Smell and taste could add the extra dimension to further enhance the overall digital experience and engagement.
It will be an interesting experiment to put together the accurate detection of smell by the electronic nose and accurate generation of smell using electronic cigarette to to achieve a end-to-end live transmission over the internet. If certain selected odors can be accurately detected by the electronic nose at the transmitting end, encoded for digital transmission towards receiving ends (there could be multiple users during a broadcast ) then the electronic cigarette technology could help decode this “smell code” and produce appropriate vapors hence add the smell ( even taste) dimension to the overall digital transmission. Recorded videos could then be played out with the related recorded smell code hence replaying only the specific smell via electronic cigarette vapors to the users.