‘Digital smell’ technology could mean you can send smells via online chats, scientists claim | Daily Mail Online

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‘Digital smell’ technology could mean you can send smells via online chats, scientists claim | Daily Mail Online

Fruity, woody, or minty! ‘Digital smells’ sent via electrodes placed inside your nose could let you transmit ODOURS in messaging and dating apps

  • Researchers claim to have created fruity, woody and minty ‘electric smells’
  • They did this by putting electrodes inside participants’ nostrils 
  • This stimulated electrical currents behind the nostril where neurons were found
  • However, critics say that smells might not have been created by electricity 


‘It is part of a whole, integrated virtual reality or augmented reality’, lead researcher Adrian Cheok who is the director of the Imagineering Institute in Malaysia told NBC.

‘So, for example, you could have a virtual dinner with your friend through the internet. You can see them in 3D and also share a glass of wine together’, he said.

Researchers created ten different odours for the 31 participants involved in the research.

Dr Cheok believes that one day odours will be sent in digital form over the internet – although he says that it might still be decades away.

The recipient could receive them by wearing glasses or goggles with electrodes in them.

‘The next stage is to produce it in a more controlled manner, and this will allow for people to develop software and products to generate electric smell’, Dr Cheok says.

He believes it could also restore smell to people who have lost it due to illness or an accident.

However, critics say that smells might not have been created by electricity.

Joel Mainland, a neuroscientist at the Monell Chemical Senses Centre told NBC that although it could be possible to create odours using electrical stimulation that might not have happened in this study.

‘If you are asking someone if something smells, they have a strong bias to say yes even where there is no odor’, he said.

Researchers in Malaysia claim to have created fruity, woody and minty 'electric smells' by putting electrodes inside participants' nostrils (stock image) 

Earlier this week, scientists said that zapping the brain by placing electrodes inside the nostrils could bring back someone’s lost sense of smell.

Being able to regain smell would be a breakthrough for millions, as figures estimate up to five per cent of people are unable to process scents.

Doctors at Massachusetts Eye and Ear tested the method on five patients who could already smell. It is the first time the sense has been stimulated this way.

The scientists believe the results open the door for a cochlear implant for the nose.

By placing electrodes in the nose, the nerves in the olfactory bulb were stimulated, and information was sent to the deeper regions of the brain.

Some cases of loss of smell can be treated by caring for an underlying cause, such as blocked sinuses or swelling, where the nasal passage is obstructed and smells can’t reach the brain.

In more complicated cases, the sensory nose may be damaged due to head injury, a virus or ageing, which can lead to anosmia – complete loss of smell.

There are currently no proven therapies for this, but the study proves there are options on the horizon.

‘Digital smell’ technology could mean you can send smells via online chats, scientists claim | Daily Mail Online

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‘Digital smell’ technology could mean you can send smells via online chats, scientists claim | Daily Mail Online

By Chris Mahon, Wednesday, 28 November 2018 – 1:53PM


Of all the useless projects undertaken by humanity, few have been more difficult, futile, and unpleasant than artificially creating smell, either through electrical impulses or by pumping in smells directly into a room (like the ill-fated Smell-O-Vision). Though smells can trigger emotions and even memories, nobody is really clamoring for a piece of technology that lets you smell someone you’re video-chatting with or sample a catalog of virtual smells (unless it’s one of those fancy air fresheners). Nevertheless, a team of researchers in Malaysia is forging ahead with digital smell technology, and they claim to have made some progress.

During the experiments, 31 participants had an electrodes inserted in their nostrils, which stimulated the receptors in the nose that send signals to the brain to create a sensation of smell. According to the Imagineering Institute, which conducted the study, the researchers were able to evoke 10 different artificial scents, though they weren’t able to control which one the participants smelled.

According to Adrian Cheok, one of the researchers associated with the study: “It’s not just about the smell. It is part of a whole, integrated virtual reality or augmented reality. So, for example, you could have a virtual dinner with your friend through the internet. You can see them in 3D and also share a glass of wine together.”

However, some scientists have doubted the findings of the study. One of them is Charles Spence, of the University of Oxford, who told Mach: “Any everyday smell will probably activate tens or hundreds of receptors. If you have only got one electrode in the nose, no matter what frequency rate or intensity (of electrical current you use) you are not going to be able to stimulate enough receptors to deliver a (perception).”

Joel Mainland, of Monell Chemical Senses Center in the United States, also pointed out that people may believe they can smell a faint odor when they’re told they should be smelling one. According to Mainland, the Malaysia study doesn’t adequately account for this issue.

Either way, we’re not holding our breath (or noses) for the day when you can email someone the scent of a sandwich.

Zapping the Olfactory Bulb Produces Phantom Smells | The Scientist Magazine(R)

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Zapping the Olfactory Bulb Produces Phantom Smells | The Scientist Magazine(R)

Researchers envision a cochlear implant–like device for the nose to give people with impaired olfaction a sense of smell.


The sensation of perceiving a smell can be induced in people by using electrodes to stimulate the brain’s olfactory bulb, researchers report today (November 27) in the International Forum of Allergy & Rhinology. The results, they suggest, are a proof of concept that it would be possible to develop an “olfactory implant system” to aid people with an impaired sense of smell, known as anosmia.


“Our work shows that smell restoration technology is an idea worth studying further,” says coauthor Eric Holbrook of Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary in a press release. “The development of cochlear implants, for example, didn’t really accelerate until someone placed an electrode in the cochlea of a patient and found that the patient heard a frequency of some type.”

Holbrook and colleagues enrolled five subjects in the study who were able to smell. Three of them reported perceiving odors not actually present when the researchers stimulated different parts of their olfactory bulbs with electrodes inserted through the nose, a procedure the study authors say caused “minimal discomfort.” Subjects described the smells as “onion-like,” “antiseptic-like,” “sour,” “fruity,” or simply “bad.”

The finding follows a report earlier this year that electrically stimulating structures high up in the nasal cavity produced smell sensations. The scientists who conducted that study at Malaysia’s Imagineering Institute aim to one day transmit smells electronically, reportes IEEE Spectrum—for example, to give restaurant-goers a whiff of dishes on the menu as they decide what to order.


See “Regularly Whiffing Essential Oils Can Retrain Sense of Smell

As in the Massachusetts Ear and Eye study, the Imagineering Institute researchers weren’t able to control which odor the subjects perceived. The Malaysian team suggests the digital smells could be transmitted through a noninvasive headset, rather than with electrodes up the nose, which their volunteers found quite uncomfortable. As coauthor Kasun Karunanayaka tells IEEE Spectrum, “A lot of people wanted to participate, but after one trial they left, because they couldn’t bear it.”

Future video chats might include smell along with sight and sound

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Future video chats might include smell along with sight and sound

Future video chats might include smell along with sight and sound

Imagine receiving a video chat from a friend that shows him behind a grill, barbecuing some burgers and franks. Now imagine being able to smell that pleasurable BBQ aroma through your phoneAccording to NBC News, digital smell technology is something that we could all be experiencing in the future. In Malaysia, experiments were recently conducted on 31 test subjects. The scientists working on the project had to place electrodes inside the noses of all 31 volunteers.
The electrodes transmitted weak electrical currents into neurons found above the nostrils. These neurons send impulses to the brain, which create the sense of smell. With the electrical impulses, the researchers were able to get the subjects to smell virtual recreations of ten different odors including fruity, woody and minty. Unfortunately,  the scientists could not control which of the smells were experienced by the subjects.
According to one of the scientists, Adrian Cheok, the technology could eventually be used to send smells over the internet with electrodes replaced by goggles. After all, not too many consumers would be willing to put electrodes in their nose every time they are in the middle of a video chat.
Recently, a product called Cyrano was marketed as a digital scent speaker, able to produce different smells on command from a smartphone app. But critics called it a high-tech air freshener. As long as there are scientists willing to work on transmitting odors, eventually there could be a time when sending smells over a smartphone is as easy as sending a text or email.

‘Digital smell’ technology could let you send ODOURS in dating apps – Mirror Online

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‘Digital smell’ technology could let you send ODOURS in dating apps

Researchers have been able to evoke 10 different virtual smells, including fruity, woody and minty


It’s one of the most evocative senses, and now your sense of smell you be stimulated through odours sent in online chats.

Researchers from the Imagineering Institute in Malaysia have developed ‘digital smell technology’, that could let you send smells online.

Speaking to NBC News, Adrian Cheok, one of the researchers behind the system, said: “It’s not just about the smell.

“It is part of a whole, integrated virtual reality or augmented reality.

“So, for example, you could have a virtual dinner with your friend through the internet. You can see them in 3D and also share a glass of wine together.”

Normally, odours are transmitted by airborne molecules that enter your nose.

But in this system, the researchers used electrodes in the nostrils to deliver weak electrical currents to simulate smells.


During tests on 31 participants, the team was able to evoke 10 different virtual smells, including fruity, woody and minty.

Dr Cheok added: “The next stage is to produce it in a more controlled manner, and this will allow for people to develop software and products to generate electric smell.”
In terms of practical uses, the researchers believe that the system could one day be used in cinemas, to give viewers a more immersive experience.

Future video chats might even transmit smells: See how

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Future video chats might even transmit smells: See how

Written By Shubham Sharma – 27 Nov 2018


Modern-day internet messaging platforms (WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger et al) have re-defined end-to-end conversations.

You can call a friend anytime to see what they are doing or where they are.

But, in order to make these conversations even more immersive, a group of scientists is exploring the possibility of transmitting smell via chats. Yep, SMELL!

Here’s how that could be a reality.

Future video chats might even transmit smells!


How smell could be transmitted on chat?

At present, no technology allows us to convey smell on internet-based chats.

However, in recent experiments, scientists were able to trigger different smell senses electrically, something that suggests a system like that might be a reality in the future.

They have envisioned a nose-like device that would sense odors and transmit them digitally to the receiver, along with sights and sounds, NBC News reported.

The subjects sensed different odors, but with no control


Here’s how they electrically triggered a sense smell

A sense of smell is created when air molecules enter the nose and trigger specialized nerve cells, which deliver sensory impulses to the brain.

The scientists used the same technique, but instead of using air, they employed weak electrical currents to trigger these neurons.

They placed electrodes in the nostrils of 31 test subjects to deliver currents where the neurons are found.


The result

The subjects sensed different odors, but with no control

The resulting, electrically triggered impulses, led the subjects to smell virtual creations of 10 different odors, including fruity, minty, and woody.

Though they were not able to control which odor the subjects experienced, the team thinks the tech could be advanced to create a digital smell tech, where odors transmitted from that nose-like device would be received with some sort of glasses or goggles.

‘Digital smell’ technology could let us transmit odors in online chats

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‘Digital smell’ technology could let us transmit odors in online chats

“It’s not just about the smell. It is part of a whole, integrated virtual reality or augmented reality.”
Image: Man on cellphone
Researchers in Malaysia want to develop technology that would allow people to send scents as easily as they send emails and texts. PeopleImages / Getty Images

Having a video chat with a friend or colleague is all about seeing and hearing — at least for now. But experiments conducted recently in Malaysia suggest it may be possible to develop “electric smell” technology capable of conveying odors as well as sights and sounds.

The research is preliminary and not without its critics. But if electric smell pans out, long-distance conversations could one day be far more immersive — enabling you to share with a loved one the aroma of a meal you just prepared, for example, or letting you catch a whiff of the sea from your sister’s beach vacation.

“It’s not just about the smell,” said Adrian Cheok, one of the scientists behind the experiments. “It is part of a whole, integrated virtual reality or augmented reality. So, for example, you could have a virtual dinner with your friend through the internet. You can see them in 3D and also share a glass of wine together.”



In real life, odors are transmitted when airborne molecules waft into the nose, prompting specialized nerve cells in the upper airway to fire off impulses to the brain. In the recent experiments, performed on 31 test subjects at the Imagineering Institute in the Malaysian city of Nusajaya, researchers used electrodes in the nostrils to deliver weak electrical currents above and behind the nostrils, where these neurons are found.

The researchers were able to evoke 10 different virtual odors, including fruity, woody and minty.


Image: Researchers at the Imagineering Institute in Malaysia use electricity to stimulate olfactory receptors.
Researchers at the Imagineering Institute in Malaysia use electricity, which they applied up the nose through electrodes, to stimulate nerves called olfactory receptors. –Imagineering Institute


The scientists couldn’t control which odors the subjects experienced, and they’re under no illusion that people will want to stick wires up their nostrils each time they have a video chat.

But Cheok, who is also the institute’s director as well as a professor at the City University of London, foresees a day when odors might be sensed by a sort of electronic nose (similar devices are now used in food-processing plants), sent in digital form over the internet and delivered to the recipient not via wires in the nose but via electrode-studded glasses or goggles.

“This stage was more exploratory,” Cheok said of the research. “The next stage is to produce it in a more controlled manner, and this will allow for people to develop software and products to generate electric smell.”

Cheok said it might take decades before the sorts of devices he envisions are ready to use. But he thinks devices that convey pre-programmed odors for entertainment applications — for example, to give moviegoers the generic scent of burnt rubber as they watch a car chase in an action movie — might be available sooner, perhaps within 15 years.

Electric smell technology could find applications beyond entertainment and personal communications. If it does prove feasible, it might be used to restore a sense of smell in people who have lost it as a result of illness, injury or inborn abnormality, said Joel Mainland, an olfactory neuroscientist at the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia.

“I think there are medical implications for a certain class of people who have lost their sense of smell, but not everybody,” Mainland said.


Mainland added that it should be at least theoretically possible to evoke specific odors via electrical stimulation. He compared this approach to cochlear implants, which electrically stimulate the nerve that carries sound signals to the brain to restore limited hearing to deaf people. “It’s not a natural stimulation,” he said of cochlear implants. “It seems like it shouldn’t work.”

It’s possible a smell-restoring device could function in a similar manner, he said. “If you start playing something that is correlated to smells that are coming in, people’s brains will be able to decode what is going on.”

But Mainland is critical of the Malaysian study, saying it’s possible that the smells the subjects reported may not have been produced by electricity. “I can give you an empty jar to sniff when you don’t have anything up your nose, and sometimes you would report a faint odor,” he said in an email. “If you are asking someone if something smells, they have a strong bias to say yes even where there is no odor.”

The study failed to account for this possibility, he said.


Please vote for the brilliant Dr. Maria Tomas, Senior lecturer in SMCSE, @CityUniLondon for the 2019 British Photography Awards in the category of Documentary!

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Please vote for the brilliant Dr. Maria Tomas, Senior lecturer in SMCSE, @CityUniLondon for the 2019 British Photography Awards in the category of Documentary! Please vote here -> https://www.britishphotographyawards.org/2019-Shortlist/Documentary/Tradition/8a2d6263-85e7-4a60-846c-6afd9857b656

Why do we think tiny things are cute? | Popular Science

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Why do we think tiny things are cute?

There are a few reasons, but we’re hard-wired to find small things adorable.


By Dana G. Smith, August 28, 2018



cute monkey looking in the mirror


What would inspire someone to painstakingly craft an inch-and-a-half-long burrito using dental tools? A hamster, of course. In the viral YouTube video “Tiny Hamster Eating Tiny Burritos,” a man prepares a chicken and single black bean burrito, then serves it to the rodent waiting at a jam-jar table. The diner pulls the burrito off a poker-chip plate and stuffs the entire thing into its mouth, cheeks puffed as if in satisfaction. It’s amazing.

Videos like this are shared all over the internet, with miniature birthday celebrations, romantic dates, and tiki parties starring cherubic animals in unlikely situations. The clips have accumulated millions of views. So why do we find these tiny tableaus so satisfying? In part, it’s because we’re engineered to appreciate the smaller things in life.

The protagonist is typically a small animal with a big head and big eyes, features collectively known as “baby schema”—a phrase coined in a 1943 paper by Austrian ethologist Konrad Lorenz. Human infants are the prototypical embodiment of baby schema. Because our babies are so helpless, Lorenz proposed, we evolved to find these characteristics cute so we’ll instinctually want to take care of them. This response helps our species survive. In fact, the power of baby schema is so strong, we’re even attracted to other beings with these traits.

“We’re not robots or computers,” says Adrian David Cheok, director of the Imagineering Institute in Malaysia, who has studied Kawaii, a culture prevalent in Japan that celebrates the adorable side of life. “Not only do we find other people’s children cute, we also find other animals cute, like puppies or kittens, because they have similar features to human babies.”

Research bears this out. Dozens of studies show that the smaller and more stereotypically “baby” a human or animal looks, the more we want to protect it. One investigation found that seeing pictures of baby animals makes us smile, while another discovered that photos of human infants trigger the nucleus accumbens, a brain region implicated in the anticipation of a reward. There’s even evidence that cute things help us concentrate and perform tasks better, theoretically because they sharpen the focus of our attention on the recipients of our care.

Our response to baby schema is so strong that it also spills out toward inanimate objects. In a 2011 study, researchers tweaked images of cars to make them embody the baby schema, with huge headlights and smaller grilles to reflect infants’ big eyes and small noses. College students smiled more at pictures of the baby-faced autos, finding them more appealing than the unaltered versions.

Mimicking chubby-cheeked critters to make goods more attractive might help sell cars, but not all little creatures have features manufacturers should imitate. Some small animals don’t exactly inspire our cuddle reflex—who wants to caress a cockroach? That’s partly because these beasties display traits (bitty heads, large bodies, and beady eyes) that don’t fit the baby schema. Sure, some people have a soft spot for “ugly cute” animals, including some species of spiders, but these still fall on Lorenz’s spectrum with big, bright peepers.

What about the things we squee over that don’t have eyes at all? Think of that darling burrito. What it lacks in a face, it makes up for in sheer artistry. “When you’re looking at [things] and seeing them as cute because they’re small, you’re also seeing them as cute because they’re cleverly made,” says Joshua Paul Dale, a faculty member at Tokyo Gakugei University and co-editor of the book The Aesthetics and Affects of Cuteness.

It makes sense then that the original meaning of “cute” was “clever or shrewd.” Simply put, we appreciate the craftsmanship of small things—it’s more difficult to make a burrito the size of a thumb than one as big as your forearm. A man examining his finished creation for flaws with a dentist’s mirror definitely meets that innovative criteria.

These tiny, carefully made items may also bring us joy because they make us want to play. Psychologists Gary Sherman and Jonathan Haidt theorize that cuteness triggers not just a protective impulse, but also a childlike response that encourages fun. To them, the desire to engage with cute things stems from our need to socialize children through play—an urge we transfer to adorable objects.

Craftsmanship and playfulness definitely factor in to why we find pint-size things so charming, but don’t discount the huge impact of their petite proportions. Miniature scenes make us feel powerful as viewers. Anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss suggests in The Savage Mind that we derive satisfaction from minuscule objects because we can see and comprehend them in their entirety, which makes them less threatening. Essentially, tiny towns, toy soldiers, and miniature tea sets make us feel like gods…or Godzillas.

That power, of course, is all in your head. The reason you smile as you build a ship in a bottle or watch videos like “Tiny Birthday for a Tiny Hedgehog” (Look it up. You’re welcome.) is that your brain is taking in the sight of that carefully frosted cake and small spiky body topped with a party hat and sending you mental rewards, causing you to feel formidable, focused, happy, and capable of keeping the weak and vulnerable alive. Yes, it means we are easily dominated by diminutive things, but so what? They’re adorable.

Does the Internet smell?

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Image result for government technology


BY  OCTOBER 26, 2018



You can’t smell the food in that review you’re reading on Yelp, but one day you might be able to.

Researchers at the Imagineering Institute in Malaysia are working on creating “digital smell.” One day they want users to be able to smell what they’re seeing when they use their digital devices. Right now, though, the process involves putting a cable up the user’s nose in order to stimulate certain neurons in the nasal passage.

In order to get people to think they were smelling something, the research team needed to deliver electric currents to the olfactory epithelium cells about 7 centimeters above and behind the nostrils. Most of the volunteers reported fragrant or chemical smells, although some also reported fruity, sweet, toasted minty, and woody odors.

The next step is to find a less invasive way to administer the electricity, such as a much smaller cable or by skipping the nose entirely and stimulating the brain instead.

Benvenuti nell’internet degli odori

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Di Federico Martelli | ott 22 2018, 9:19pm

Benvenuti nell’internet degli odori – Abbiamo parlato con i ricercatori che riescono a simulare gli odori con gli stimoli elettrici.

Una delle cose più frustranti di navigare su internet è che gli unici sensi coinvolti sono la vista e l’udito. Spesso però è un vero peccato che il tatto, l’olfatto e il gusto vengano esclusi dal flusso di informazioni digitali da cui siamo raggiunti. Anche questi sensi sono collegati alle emozioni e ai ricordi e contribuiscono a formare la nostra esperienza del mondo — senza contare che la loro inclusione nell’esperienza digitale aprirebbe una grande quantità di applicazioni, da quelle legate al mondo del cibo, fino a quello del sesso virtuale e, sopratutto, potrebbe concedere agli amanti che non hanno la possibilità di vedersi dal vivo di sentirsi più vicini.

Kasun Karunanayaka dell’Imagineering Institute in Malesia sta lavorando alla riproduzione digitale del senso dell’olfatto. Karunanayaka collabora con uno dei ricercatori più importanti in questo campo, Adrian Cheok che dirige l’Imagineering Institute — intervistato già in passato da Motherboard riguardo il suo lavoro per creare un “Internet multisensoriale” — e con la startup giapponese Scentee per realizzare un’app che aggiunge odori alle funzioni dello smartphone. Grazie alla tecnologia che ha elaborato, le persone con disturbi olfattivi potrebbero riacquistare alcune funzioni olfattive, oppure sperimentare esperienze in VR integrate con tecnologie di stimolazione cerebrale per fornire agli utenti un’esperienza sensoriale più ricca.

Uno dei suoi ultimi esperimenti ha l’obiettivo di riprodurre gli odori senza passare attraverso la stimolazione chimica delle cellule olfattive. Il suo team ha creato uno strumento che sfrutta gli stimoli elettrici. Mettendo a contatto degli elettrodi con le cellule dell’epitelio olfattivo che inviano informazioni dal nervo olfattivo al cervello e modificando la quantità e la frequenza degli stimoli elettrici, il suo team è riuscito a riprodurre una serie di sensazioni olfattive. L’obiettivo della sperimentazione è quello di arrivare in futuro a riprodurre gli stimoli raggiungendo direttamente il cervello, senza ficcare un tubo su per il naso della gente, dato che molti dei volontari che hanno partecipato ai test non riuscivano a sopportarlo. Ne ho parlato direttamente con Karunanayaka via mail.

Motherboard: Come funziona la stimolazione elettrica delle cellule nasali?
Kasun Karunanayaka: Lo scopo del nostro studio era stimolare elettricamente l’epitelio olfattivo umano e descrivere le sensazioni corrispondenti. La stimolazione elettrica può provocare la depolarizzazione nelle cellule nervose e quindi con un’ampiezza di depolarizzazione sufficiente può indurre delle sensazioni o delle reazioni. Si può affermare che la stimolazione elettrica dei recettori olfattivi può riprodurre alcune sensazioni olfattive allo stesso modo in cui può produrre sensazioni gustative (nella pratica nota come elettrogustometria.)

Cosa si intende per depolarizzazione? Su quali meccanismi biologici si basa il vostro studio?
Il naso umano è parte del sistema chemiosensoriale, che aiuta a discriminare una vasta gamma di odori e sapori. Quando le molecole odorose entrano nell’epitelio olfattivo, si legano ai recettori olfattivi. Poi, i recettori olfattivi innescano una serie di segnali all’interno delle cellule che si traducono nell’apertura e chiusura dei canali ionici. Questo aumenta la concentrazione di ioni positivi all’interno delle cellule olfattive (un effetto noto come depolarizzazione). Questo effetto fa sì che le cellule olfattive rilascino pacchetti di segnali chimici chiamati neurotrasmettitori, che danno vita a un impulso nervoso.


Cosa avete capito grazie al vostro studio?
Su circa un quarto dei partecipanti dei 31 partecipanti ai nostri test, le combinazioni di stimoli da 1 mA e 70 Hz e quella da 1 mA e 10 Hz hanno prodotto sensazioni olfattive di odori profumati, dolci e che risultavano chimici. I partecipanti hanno riferito invece di aver provato intense sensazioni di dolore e formicolio per le combinazioni di 1 mA e 180 Hz o 4 mA e 70 Hz. Una piccola parte di loro ha riferito di avere sperimentato dei flash visivi con una stimolazione di 4 mA e 70 Hz. Crediamo che questo tipo di risultati suggeriscono che ci può essere un percorso elettrico per riprodurre il senso dell’olfatto negli esseri umani.

Abbiamo in programma di estendere questo esperimento a un numero maggiore di partecipanti e continuare a lavorare con quelli che hanno già segnalato delle sensazioni olfattive. Vogliamo sottoporli a diversi parametri di stimolazione elettrica, modificando la frequenza, la corrente e il periodo di stimolazione. Prevediamo così di identificare vari modelli di stimolazione che possono riprodurre in modo efficace diverse sensazioni olfattive. Il passo successivo sarebbe quello di confrontare la differenza tra la percezione degli odori elettrici e la percezione degli odori naturali, studiando le parti del cervello che vengono attivate dalle stimolazioni corrispondenti. Se entrambe le tecniche di stimolazione dovessero attivare approssimativamente le stesse aree del cervello, potremmo sostenere che la stimolazione elettrica può riprodurre le stesse sensazioni olfattive che hanno una base chimica.


Come funzionavano gli strumenti che avete sviluppato in precedenza?
Questo è il primo dispositivo per riprodurre le sensazioni olfattive con stimoli elettrici che abbiamo realizzato ed è parte di un progetto di ricerca a lungo termine per riprodurre sensazioni di gusto e olfatto attraverso la realtà aumentata. Nel 2011, abbiamo presentato per la prima volta una tecnologia digitale per riprodurre i sapori attraverso la stimolazione elettrica. Abbiamo presentato di recente un’altra tecnologia per riprodurre i sapori che utilizza invece la stimolazione termica alla conferenza IEEE VR 2018. Invece, nel 2016, abbiamo proposto per la prima volta l’idea di riprodurre le sensazioni olfattive utilizzando la stimolazione elettrica. Successivamente, nel 2017 abbiamo sviluppato un Olfactometer da laboratorio — un sistema di emissione degli odori computerizzato su base chimica. Inoltre, abbiamo collaborato con Scentee.

A cosa state lavorando con Scentee?
Scentee è il primo device compatibile con mobile al mondo che riproduce gli odori. Si inserisce nel jack audio degli iPhone o dei dispositivi Android e può riprodurre odori o fragranze utilizzando applicazioni per smartphone. Il profumo viene rilasciato attraverso un motore a ultrasuoni che ha un serbatoio rimovibile. Il dispositivo può riprodurre solo un aroma alla volta. Il rilascio dell’aroma viene attivato attraverso un’input sul touchscreen, un messaggio di testo in arrivo o una notifica sui social network. Inoltre, può essere utilizzato in varie applicazioni come l’allarme della sveglia o per l’aromaterapia.


Come vedete il futuro di questo tipo di tecnologie? Con quale formato verrano trasferiti i dati?
Oggi le applicazioni di realtà aumentata si basano principalmente sull’audio e sul video ma la digitalizzazione del tatto e del gusto è già stata realizzata sperimentalmente a livello di ricerca e diventerà uno standard in futuro. Con la digitalizzazione dell’olfatto, potremo sperimentare digitalmente cinque sensi di base in realtà aumentata e l’esperienza utente diventerà più completa. Questo creerà più applicazioni e opportunità in campi come l’interazione umana con il computer, i videogiochi, la medicina e l’e-commerce.

Per quanto riguarda i dati che verranno trasferiti in formato digitale, nel caso di esperienze di tipo continuo, dovremmo trasmettere un flusso di dati digitali come facciamo per l’audio e il video. Tuttavia, la gamma dei valori e la struttura dei dati potrà essere definita solo dopo aver trovato i corretti parametri di stimolazione per riprodurre ogni sensazione olfattiva.


Interesting Engineering: This New Invention Lets You Smell Things Through Electricity Perfecting this idea would enable users to send smells over the internet.

posted in: Media | 0
By  October, 19th 2018

This New Invention Lets You Smell Things Through Electricity

Perfecting this idea would enable users to send smells over the internet.

This New Invention Lets You Smell Things Through Electricity

The idea of having a real-time change in smell during immersive experiences watching movies isn’t new. We can trace such an attempt into 1959 where a technology called AromaRama was used to send across smells across to the audience.

The benefit is increased engagement as people would get the smell of flowers when a scene revolves around a garden or have the scent of smoke during sequences that pertain to it like wars or bomb explosions. Needless to say, the technology didn’t gain much traction.

The age where we can induce smell electrically!

In 2018, we are capable of a much efficient method that could get us the same results. The researchers at the Imagineering Institute in Malaysia have found a new method that could help a person smell an occasion, and they plan to use it in AR and VR based applications.

Imagine where you could get a sense of smell through mixed reality experiences. The researchers are calling this Digital Smell. Currently, the researchers have managed to do this by bringing in thin electrodes in contact with the inner lining of the human nose.

Yes, the current version requires two wires to be inserted into your nostrils.

That said the researchers are working on creating a smaller form factor of this technology so that it can be easily carried and used. The idea for such an invention comes from Kasun Karunanayaka, who went on with this innovation as a project to acquiring his Ph.D. with Adrian Cheok, who is now serving as the director of the institute.

He is also gunning for similar innovation, as his dream is to create a multisensory internet.

Much tinkering is needed to create a near perfect form factor

The first version of the project involved chemical cartridges that mix and release chemicals to produce odors. But this was not what the team wanted moving forwards. They wanted to create a system that can produce scent through electricity alone.

The team also collaborates with a Japanese startup called Scentee to develop a smartphone gadget that can produce smells based on user inputs.

To create an all-electric system, the team experimented with exciting the human neurons. The test requires a wire to be inserted into their nose. When the exposed silver tip touches the olfactory epithelium, which is located approximately 3 inches into the nasal cavity, the researchers will send an electric charge into them.

“We’ll see which areas in the brain are activated in each condition, and then compare the two patterns of activity,” Karunanayaka said. “Are they activating the same areas of the brain?” If so, that brain region could become the target for future research.”

The researchers varied both amperage and frequency of the current to see the smell sensations that they would create. For certain electric combinations, the perceived smells were off fruity or chemical in nature.

Now the next part is to determine the exact parameters to create certain odors. Also, the team wants to redesign the device so that it is more comfortable for the users.

In their testing, many participants left because they felt the procedure to be very uncomfortable. Perfecting this tech has immense possibilities, helping people with smell disorders being one of them.

By including direct brain simulators in VR headsets, even content creators can help users smell things based on what they see.

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