Smell the Internet

The Internet is the best thing after sliced bread. It seems like we can do anything. Through the ‘Net, we can shop for groceries, talk with friends, buy and download books, rent movies, and gather an audience. What else can we do on this global system of interconnected computer network? Can we:

If only...

  • see? Documents, pictures, animation, video, text.
    Yes.
  • hear? Dialogue, music.
    Yes.
  • smell…. taste… touch?
    No… no… and no.

So maybe the Internet’s not too close to sliced bread yet. At least we can smell bread. We can’t smell anything through the Internet. Not only that, we can’t touch the animals on Cute Overload, nor can we taste Adriano Zumbo’s infamous V8 cake.

We can’t do any of those. Or can we?

I answer using Barack Obama’s catchy campaign slogan, “Yes we can“. Thanks to (drumroll) iSmell!

iSmell failure for a dot-com company

No, it’s not a new Apple gadget.

Smelling is possible through certain molecules finding its way to your nose. Produced by Digiscents, iSmell indexed thousands of smells that could be digitized and embedded into a web page. It’s like a code that gets activated so that when you visited Slice of Lemon, you’d activate the iSmell which would release a whiff of citrusy goodness.

Sadly, iSmell came at a time when there was little demand for it and ended with a place among PC World’s “25 Worst Tech Products of All Time“.

Tell me: Do you think this type of sensory technology will pick up interest any time soon?

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3 Responses to Smell the Internet

  1. Meral says:

    You just reminded me to visit Slice of Lemon. I love the way she writes.

  2. for the love of physics says:

    i told about the tv with smell (i have no idea what it’s called) to someone i know. his response was: “it wouldn’t be a very good idea if you were watching Recep Ivedik.”

  3. esmayu says:

    Thank you for noting the dangers of digital smells, Miss For the Love of Physics.

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