You can already chat, email, download music and watch videos through the internet, but imagine being able to smell fresh seaside air from the heart of the city, or savour the smell of your favourite restaurant’s cuisine while booking a table. It is now possible with the arrival of Britainâ€™s first ‘ScentMail’ facility.
Cable company Telewest Broadband is currently testing new technology that brings a third sense to the internet, allowing you to send and receive any number of weird and wonderful aromas whilst surfing the net.
Smell the loveâ€¦
Looking for love? Then take a deep breath as online dating takes a new turn. When seeking a new date on the net, you can now check to see if the object of your desire is more Calvin Klein than Brut 33, with personalised email scents to reflect your mood or personality.
The revolutionary technology works in conjunction with a high-speed, broadband internet connection, enabling people to send and receive codes to special ‘scent domes,’ which mix liquid smells and spray them into the air around the PC. Even online shopping services benefit with the added dimension of smell.
All you need to do is plug in one of the unique domes, just as you would a printer or scanner, and a whole new nasal experience awaits. Other potential ScentMail applications could includeâ€¦
Smell the sea and suntan lotion while taking a virtual tour of your chosen destination
2. Online groceries
Wafts of fresh bread and fruit tantalise your taste buds as you make your way around the e-supermarket
3. Horse racing
Smell the turf as the 3:15 at Doncaster thunders past on your PC screen
De-stress and unwind with your PC
5. Jazz club
Savour the atmospheric smells of whisky and cigars while you enjoy the music from home
Kate Fox, social anthropologist, commented, “By adding a third sense to the internet Telewest Broadband is helping to ‘humanize’ cyberspace â€“ using ground breaking technology to re-create more primitive forms of communication.
“The association of fragrance and emotion is not an invention of poets or perfume-makers. Our sense of smell is directly connected to our emotions – smells trigger very powerful and deep-seated emotional responses, and this additional element to the internet will enhance users’ online experience by adding that crucial third dimension.”
Telewest Broadband has created the UK’s first ‘ScentMail’ or ‘Aromanet’ facility in Area 15, its experimental research and development facility at its Woking headquarters.
Initially, each scent dome contains 20 aromas that can be mixed to produce up to 60 different smells but up to 2,000 scents could be available in the future.
Chad Raube, director of internet services at Telewest Broadband, said: “This could bring an extra whiff of realism to the internet. We are always looking at ways to enhance the broadband internet experience of the future and this time we are sure consumers will come up smelling of roses.”