Digital Scent Technology Blog

The internet comes to its senses

Posted on February 19th, 2004

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 Britain’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 love…
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 include…

1. Holidays
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

4. Aromatherapy
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 – 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.”

16 Responses to 'The internet comes to its senses'

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  1. Aiden said,

    on July 15th, 2007 at 3:45 pm

    This technology is re-inventing the way we surf the internet.

  2. Nathan said,

    on July 15th, 2007 at 3:45 pm

    I think this technology will be a great addition to the current computer peripherals, one more step to full sense immersion.

  3. Troy said,

    on July 15th, 2007 at 3:46 pm

    It is truly an amazing concept. It would be loved by gamers and outgoing people. It would be a great addition to internet society.

  4. Tina said,

    on July 15th, 2007 at 3:48 pm


    I think this is a great idea… but what happens to the spam email/websites, do you smell them aswell as the aromas from things like games and cafes? but apart from that it sounds great…

  5. Laura said,

    on July 15th, 2007 at 3:49 pm

    It will be interesting to smell different facilities but along with that there is no real point in smelling facilities from the computer but any ways this computer technology is very different to what we usually hear and i believe that it will sky rocket.

  6. michelle said,

    on July 15th, 2007 at 3:49 pm

    COOOOLL !!! it sounds interesting and looking forward to it. Would they have many more smells in the future? I wanna smell the scent while playing games and watching movie!

  7. alex said,

    on July 15th, 2007 at 3:49 pm

    rofl what a crazy idea/…..

  8. jaxon said,

    on July 15th, 2007 at 8:30 pm

    i think this is a awsome idea but some people might use it wrongly for eg abos might use it to sniff petrol and some people might put yuk smells

  9. Kerem said,

    on July 15th, 2007 at 8:30 pm

    i dont get it

  10. Michael said,

    on July 15th, 2007 at 8:32 pm

    I think this technology will be an important milestone in developing new technologies. There are many uses for it. Such as videogames. There are countless ideas that can further be explored as it gets better. Though some things will be negative. For instance, prank websites. Overall though, I say this is a good thing…

  11. Fredrick Mason said,

    on July 15th, 2007 at 8:32 pm

    great idea =]

    Very interesting, however a bit a strange .

  12. Curtis said,

    on July 15th, 2007 at 8:33 pm

    This will be a great addition to my internet games such as runescape and world of warcraft

  13. Alex said,

    on July 15th, 2007 at 8:33 pm

    I think that the internet sense is a good idea, because you see that in real life this always happen, mostly the idea of seeing what happens in real life, should appear anywhere at any time, including the internet, at least we wont get hurt in real life, then the internet, so its a good idea.

  14. Willy Mason said,

    on July 15th, 2007 at 8:33 pm

    sounds like an awesome idea. however when will it actually happen? Is it possible for it be avaliable and affordable

    kind regards

  15. Tamika said,

    on July 23rd, 2008 at 3:18 pm

    i think it’s stupid because people going on holidays will miss that first impression when they arrive at the holiday destination, the looks the smells and the people!

  16. stuart said,

    on July 23rd, 2008 at 3:54 pm

    i think its a bad idea

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