Smell, Touch & Taste
smell – to perceive something by its odor or scent.
olfaction turned out to be the most fascinating of our little research lab. while our core issues involved live shows, olfaction became a line extension once we proved the immersive audio and visual systems could work. the prototype path for smell was creating cartridges that could be loaded and synched with cues to computer gaming or display systems producing just enough microbursts to trick the mind into perceiving and believing. it solved a common problem in olfaction systems - that being room contamination.
once we got the small units tested, we designed a system that could be transported and work in an arena or theater settings. ahead of its time it had a bit of rube goldberg with practicality. the "torpedo's" educated us to so many new ways to change, alter and steer human emotion with olfactory triggering. i still am amazed at how the human mind processes it all. here is to one day understanding the limbic system.
the most lasting memory of the power of smell came when we casually tested alzheimer’s patients to see what effects smell cues could have on memory. It was amazing to listen to long term associated memories opened up and old men and women were transferred back to a memory in their past. sadly, we did not succeed in using smell to enhance short-term memory of the present.
touch & taste –we didn’t have the budget to do much in the world of physical prototyping of tactile response except conceptualizing many ideas and a few rudimentary tests. we could have funded all of our ideas, I just couldn’t see spending the time on virtual sex products with telepresence applications. i remember one potential client saying, “mark, you are smart, can you figure a way to build a virtual blowjob machine?”
“yes, I can. but I won’t”
food, flowers, and perfumes.
it was surprised how much of an impact smell had upon steering the consumer in making purchases.
this is most varied, complex and difficult of any smells to accurately reproduce because it is so different everywhere on the planet.
fresh tilled soil
this scent was one of my favorite when we tested elderly people. many had grown up near farms and the smell took them back to childhood memories and amazing stories
reality isn't all pretty
bringing stench, mold, musk, trash, and other olfactory cues into the mix, much like subsonic audio, deepens the emotional message to the viewer
illusions in smell
while the ocean was impossible to fake, we did realize that changing an audio cue could fake some smells. for example, engine exhaust, rocket launch, or jet engine could be the same smell, but provide a different audio/visual cue, the mind would accurately perceive and fill in the blanks.