Olly, the Scent Robot – Internet Scent is (just about) here!


Have a look at this:  Olly, the web connected smelly robot.  Thanks Colin!

Often when I speak to people about scent and art, they mention that it would be interesting if films, for instance, had smells with them.

A recent Spy Kids film did have the bonus of ‘Aromascope olfactory enhancements’, or a scrach-and-sniff card that came with your movie ticket so that you could smell certain scenes.  Cool idea, but still a ways away from being bathed in the overwhelming 4D scent-sual aspects of a cinema watching experience.  I can think of a lot of scenes from movies you might not want to smell, though!

Olly is a new ‘scent robot’ that you hook up to your computer, and, if I understand correctly, add a drop or two of scent to some part of him.  This scent is then assigned to someone you interact with (presumably on social networking sites or via email?) and whenever you communicate with them, Olly blows their chosen scent out.  This all still seems rather primitive – again, it’s not quite a full 4D experience, or a true sharing of scent over the internet, and to some extent this feels like a fancy diffuser.  However I do think it’s really exciting that people are thinking about scent in this way – that our sense of smell deserves to be stimulated and is a mechanism for communication just like our eyes and ears are.

Do you think scent is a valid mechanism for communication?  What scents would you assign to the people you interact with over the internet?


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