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Digital Smell Technology- An Underrated Technology

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The technology has so far targeted mainly our sense 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 the product before buying them online. California-based Digiscents Inc. has developed the iSmell personal scent synthesizer. This small device connects to your pc via serial port and has its own driver. The smelling screen is a new olfactory display that can generate a localized odor distribution on a two-dimensional display screen. The generated odor distribution is as if an odor source had been placed on the screen, and leads the user to perceive the odor as emanating from a specific region of the screen.

What is digital smell technology?

Until now, online communication involved only two of our senses, sense of sight & a sense of hearing. Soon it will involve the third, the sense of smell using a nose. Digital smell technology is the main application of e-nose. With digital scent technology, it is possible to sense, transmit & receive smell through the internet.

How was it invented?

For the user to feel more realistic effects of movies the very new facility of digital smell in movies or in games has been introduced. The basic idea for this was given by the perfume making companies for the advertisements of their perfumes.

How does it work?

Digital smell works by continuously feeding odors from vaporizing gel pellets into four air streams, one in each corner of the screen. These air streams are blown out parallel to the screen’s surface by fans, and varying the strength and direction of them spreads the scent to any given spot on the screen.

Hardware Devices:

Smell Synthesizer:

The smell synthesizer means the device which is used to generate the smells. Such as iSmell is a device used to produce the gas using a computer. There are various types of smell synthesizers available in the market, but for the computer the smell synthesizer is made by digiscents industry.


The iSmell is a peripheral device, about the size of a PC speaker that connects to a PC via a serial or USB port. It uses consumable cartridges which are used and replaced similar to the way ink jet printers use ink cartridges. The iSmell device reads a digital scent file, creates a smell from a “palette” of 128 chemicals stored in a cartridge, and then wafts into the air with a small fan.


The cartridge will contain chemicals either natural oils or synthetic fragrances that will be activated by either heat or air pressure when you send a signal from your computer. Currently, 128 chemicals are stored in a cartridge. Similar to an ink jet printer, those oils form the core of a replaceable cartridge, which is inserted in the company’s iSmell device.

Broadcasting of Smell:

It is carried out at the following 3 levels

1.Digitized Scent:

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


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

3.Smell Synthesizer:

The smell synthesizer means the device which is used to generate the smells.

Effect of Digital Smell:

Over the Theater:

After some time the virtual theaters will come in the market. This virtual theater is basically the concept of the virtual reality.

Over the Television:

After some time over television will come with more picture quality, better voice as well as iSmell device, which will create more interest in watching the television. For example, : If we are watching a movie and we see burning of tier then we will fill that smell in theater and television.


There are many applications for digital smell technology such as: 1. Send scented email 2. Watch scented DVD’s 3. Play scented video games 4. Sample a perfume from a beauty product’s website 6. Smell the assortment of freshly brewed coffees for sale in their online store.

Last Updated : 07 Aug, 2017
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