The 12th quarterly email newsletter from the ( team. Check out the archive if you missed any!

Q4: Sense of smell

It is said that we have five senses; touch, taste, smell, sight and sound. This is far from the truth. In reality we have many more, including balance, temperature, direction and pressure. Why the myth of 5 continues to be perpetuated is beyond us, but in each of the next few newsletters we’ll focus on just one sense at a time.

Allegory of the Five Senses

Allegory of the Five Senses By Gérard de Lairesse, Painted in 1668

Digital equivalents

Part of the reason senses are interesting to us is that they are slowly (or quickly depending on your timescale) being digitised and squeezed into our smart phones. For a talk we did a few years ago we looked into mapping human and animal senses to their digital equivalents. Our premise was that what hadn’t been translated will be and the missing senses were are good place to watch and invest.

Human Senses Phone Sensors
Sight Camera
Sound Microphone/Speakers
Touch Touch
Balance Accelerometer
Time Clock

As you can see “Smell” is one of those senses that currently is not replicated in our smart phones. Why not? and will it ever?

Smell Links

Products of the Future

We are always interested in the future, so we’ve profiled a few futuristic smell related products.

Food Detector

Ever wonder what it is you are eating? Now you can check. With this device you can determine the chemical make-up of the food and figure out exactly what type of fish you are being served.

New Nose

Have you lost your sense of smell? Don't like the shape of your nose? Want to smell like our other mammalian cousins? Why not try an artificial nose.

Nuclear Safety

After the fall-out we'll all need to know if it is safe to go outside. Now with your smart phone you can detect if there is any radioactivity in your area and how much.

Fruit Fireworks

Next special event why not try our flavoured fireworks? Add a fruity smell to the outdoor visual experience with each burst.

Availability Forecast

We are available for projects this quarter. With an estimated 80% capacity we have room to help make you look like a hero.

Availability Forecast

2015Q2 will hopefully be busy with an internal project, pending funding. If not, we have much more room, so get in contact if we can help.

Quarterly Contest

Our Q4 contest was for a Mars Letterpressed notebooks. This went to a local Icelanders who was the closest to our randomly selected point of 83°19'12.0"N 51°52'30.0"W

Our 02015 contests will revolve around paper and our Q1 prize is a copy of the 02010 Designing with Data paperback book.

You can't win, if you don't enter!


Availability Forecast

The Scent of Mystery was the first film which utilised Smell-O-Vision, but was a failure: from the scents reaching different parts of the audience at different times, to weak smells causing the audience to sniff loudly. Even after a few changes to the equipment, the word was already out about how bad an experience was and it was forever doomed.

Comedian Henny Youngman quipped of the film, "I didn't understand the picture. I had a cold."

The film was later rereleased under the new name Holiday in Spain without the smells. It didn't help much, because they didn't edit the film. Without any context about the smells, there are strange scenes of people inexplicably shoving loaves of bread toward the camera. Maybe smell and film were never meant to be?