Team McCallum

R&D for Lifetime of Life

Digital scent.

Dr Rafi Haddad and colleagues developed an electronic nose that can predict accurately whether a new smell will be found pleasant or unpleasant by humans.

First a group of Israelis rated odours on a 30 point scale, from very unpleasant to very pleasant. The scientists used this to program the nose.

Then the electronic nose went to work on new odours, and rated those on the 30 point scale. These results were compared with those from a second group of Israelis.

On the 30 point scale the electronic nose got an 80% accuracy rating. Boiled down to just unpleasant v pleasant, this went up to 99%.

Then, without alteration to the programming, the electronic nose was compared to a group of Ethiopians. The results were the same – no cultural difference.

According to the team “These findings suggest that unlike in vision and audition, in olfaction there is a systematic predictable link between stimulus structure and stimulus pleasantness.”

This would bring digital scent much closer, as a digital fingerprint could be relied on to produce desired effects.

3D movies and TV with surround smell? Sending your partner the smell of roses by phone? The future’s bright – the future’s smelly. 🙂


April 17, 2010 - Posted by | Brain, Change, Fun, Rafi Haddad, Science

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