November 16, 2000 6:02 PM   Subscribe

Smellovision ("Digiscents") demoed at Comdex. Scan down to the fourth paragraph for an informal review.
posted by Steven Den Beste (15 comments total)
What amazes me about this device is that there are people who actually believe such a thing is desirable. Someone is genuinely under the impression I want to sit at my desk and huff Glade plug-in synthe-scents all day.

I'd like to know the name of the VC firm that greenlighted this white elephant. I've got plenty of ideas that are less stupid than this one. I'm not saying they're GOOD ideas....I'm just saying they're less retarded than having a stink generator taking up valuable desktop space.

Am I to understand that they're charging MONEY for this doorstop?

posted by Optamystic at 6:43 PM on November 16, 2000

I dunno; there's at least one site that I'd love to have adopt a perfected form of this technology.
posted by harmful at 6:57 PM on November 16, 2000

Imagine McDonalds banner ads that make a french-fry smell.

That is NOT a world i want. I think the only online industry that this will really take off in is Porn....becasue the Porn industry can make money off almost anything. Ron Jeremy can be my proof of that.
posted by th3ph17 at 7:14 PM on November 16, 2000

I hesitate to imagine what kind of smells would be produced bye porn sites. There's a whole host of unsavory possibilities.

To smell Ron Jeremy, click here.

posted by jbushnell at 7:38 PM on November 16, 2000

Contest: describe Metafilter's smell.
posted by gluechunk at 7:41 PM on November 16, 2000

Irish stew?
posted by lagado at 7:50 PM on November 16, 2000

Blueberry goodness intermingled with the stench of wrongheadedness eminating from anyone who disagrees with me.
posted by Optamystic at 7:56 PM on November 16, 2000

posted by Georgina at 8:01 PM on November 16, 2000

posted by highindustrial at 1:04 AM on November 17, 2000

Napalm in the morning?
posted by Byun-o-matic at 4:08 AM on November 17, 2000

Sorry to be on-topic, but why are people irritated by the thought of smells coming from their computers?

That and tasted are the only sense that haven't had representation on a computer, and smell is far more important than taste to make you feel like you're in a different environment.

This isn't just about making your email smell like manufactured roses, this sort of thing is a look ahead at 10 year in the future when the virtual communities we build ourselves are even more realistic, when the MMORPGs are immersive environments.

Is it ready for consumers? I doubt it, but somebody has to pay for R&D on this sort of thing. 10 years ago you'd be hard-pressed to get a photo-quality image to display on a computer, or crisp CD-quality sound in a video game. Now it's par for the course, so why not extend to the other senses?
posted by cCranium at 5:24 AM on November 17, 2000

Back in the day, I was a big Infocom text-adventure fan, and my copy of "Leather Goddesses of Phobos" (which was a riot, btw) came with a scratch'n'sniff pad. You'd get to certain points in the game, and it would declare, "Scratch and sniff Pad 3 on your Scent Sheet and press Return to continue."

It was a complete waste of time.

The game was no better for the inclusion of smell, especially synthetic, mixed-with-other-things smell. DigiScents will be no different.

A human's sense of smell is used primarily for food and reproduction. I'd rather cook or reheat something and smell that than have my computer send french-fry-grease odor my way. Of course, the porn industry will find a use for DigiScents in a jiffy, I'm sure.
posted by werty at 7:19 AM on November 17, 2000

Hey, I remember that too. Yeah, it got old fast, but part of it was because it was an invasive procedure. You had to "step out" of the game environment, scratch it, smell it, and think "Wow, that was so not worth the effort."

I agree that DigiScents, especially the one they're trying to get out in time for Christmas, won't become the next necessary gaming toy, but it's an interesting step towards complete environmental simulation.

The commercial value of something like this needs to be established. Will Digiscent go down in flames? Possible.

I mean, for one thing they're marketing it for the wrong thing. Synthetic smell duplication would be a great way to sell cologne and perfume online, for instance.

Better yet, sell it to stores that stock perfumes, so people can sample countless different types without having to open up the bottle and walk away reaking of the latest eau de toilette. Especially if they don't actually like the smell.

Want to know what Deoderant X smells like before you buy it take it home? Press button X, and voila.

Scented candles, air fresheners, lots of things get bought on a "Well, this pretty container has flowers, flowers are nice, I'll buy it." without the people actually being able to establish that it's a scent they'll enjoy. I think DigiScent is just taking the wrong marketing angle with their toy.
posted by cCranium at 7:32 AM on November 17, 2000

Once upon a time I went to one of those Smellovision movies when they came out in the 80's. Does anyone remember those? This was a 3d movie, that had smells. What I remember most about the movie was the stench that they used to push the other smell out of the way of the new smells. I remember going from smelling, in 3d, a dozen roses then an apple pie, which was shoved in my face (so to speak).

It was a bad idea, I thought then, and I still think its a bad idea. It seems like the computer world is about audio and visual stimulation. "Touch" is used some, but not everyone has a force feedback mouse. I didn't need smells to enjoy television, I don't need smells to enjoy computing/internet. Lets get those rocket-packs working before we worry about smellovision.
posted by jamescblack at 9:13 AM on November 17, 2000

The perfume industry would never go for it...their Scents are their Property, and they aren't going to try and approximate one in order to sell it, because if it isn't Just right it won't sell...even the cheap knock-offs of expensive perfumes don't smell the same. There is weird stuff in those little bottles.

Smell from a computer would be Invasive...even if you didn't have to stop to scratch-n-sniff.
posted by th3ph17 at 11:29 AM on November 17, 2000

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