in Ensayos, Random Stuff

Will ‘Smell’ ever be a part of entertainment?

I often get sad when I remember that there’s hardly a way to realize the duration of the present, but it’s comforting to know that we have books, photography, audio recording and video recording as very tangible ways to bring the present back.

There’s however one thing lacking in these technologies to relive the past or to tell stories, and I think it could be one of the most powerful ways of telling a story, smell. We all have at some moment smelled something in particular and have that smell help us vividly remember a moment 10 years ago like if it was today.

I keep thinking on how to do it, and I want to share an idea I had last night after thinking about it for a few minutes.

At first I thought, is there a way to quantify or mix chemicals to produce smells out of basic components, the same way we can do it with color (RGB or other schemes)? hmm, maybe, maybe not, I think there’s too many chemicals involved, so scratch that. However, I believe that a smell, once it hits your brain, it’s nothing more but a series of electrical impulses sent to a specific area of the brain which is in charge of making you smell something.

We need a sensor, our noses, and then that information, somehow must be transformed to electrical impulses, and I think this is the foundation to create a device to record smells.

First we’d need to have some sort of electronic nose, whoever could build this will have to take a serious look on how our nose detects smell in the air. I suppose we’ll have iteration after iteration of this device until it can record up scents not even humans can detect (this reminds me of mp3 and how it just ignores a lot we can’t hear).

Then, once you can record this information, the problem is… how do you get it in the brains of an audience, I don’t think we’d attach anything to our noses and have something mix substances to reproduce a smell, that’d be ridiculous, instead, we need to send an electrical signal to our brain so that the smell can be interpreted and smelt, without using our nose. So I suppose in theory, there will be at some point in history a device that can broadcast brainwaves to a lot of people on a movie theater audience, or on your home tv.

The applications would be awesome… Imagine playing Gears of War 8 with smell, the battlefield experience would be so much more engaging if you could smell the smoke, the lead, the blood, …

After that we’ll probably also figure out a way to record and broadcast weather conditions, and make us feel heat, or cold, or wind, all while sitting in front of our console, or on a movie theater.

If for some crazy reason you start developing this technology, or you know of someone doing it, please let me know, it’d just be awesome to know that this is happening during my lifetime.

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  1. te felicito por tu exito AMIGO, yo soy de peru, que consejo me me darias de como comenzar con la programacion de juegos, o por un lenguaje que me de una ventaja competitiva , ya que en mi pais el sueldo no es tan bueno,me gustaria intentar en otro pais.
    Que lenguaje es más requerido en los estados unidos.


  2. genius post…. very well written… you did a good job of passing the excitement of this field of work onto me, as a reader.

    i think theres hugeeeeeeeee potential in this…. although the ‘broadcast’ brainwaves thing might work, but it would probably require that people either have something on their head or a small chip somewhere inside their head or attached to the ear or something so that you’re capable of picking up these brainwaves.

    i imagine that one day people will start putting more and more machinery into their bodies… it’ll first begin with providing life-saving or significant life-enhancing abilities to someone who has medical issues, and that’ll naturally progress onto enhancing our current abilities as humans… things like connecting tiny devices to our brain which provide large amounts of data storage through high-speed-access flash drives…. these peopel will then be able to pull data from these devices and it’ll just appear as if they ‘know’ all of this, instead of having to perform a ‘search’ against the data for something they’re looking for. that’ll probably require that some sort of small-scale ‘index’ of all the data is made available on the chip and that your brainwaves/neurosignals can be understood so that the chip knows what you’re looking for.

    this chip could then expand and newer modules can have the ability to read brainwaves that are broadcast, from things like movie theaters, computer games (gears of war 8 ahahahah) or potentially even by websites because youre computer/monitor will have the capability to broadcast brainwaves.

    The only scary part is the other end of this… if someone uses these kinds of technologies for evil purposes. Crazy…. I wonder where the world’s headed.

    Cheers brosef, good post. Keep posting shit like this… its awesome.