Scented Email

20 years ago   •   1 min read

By Marcia Kadanoff

News of the weird.  Even if we tried, we couldn’t possibly make this stuff up.

British ISP Telewest Broadband is testing a system that would allow users to send aromatic e-mails over the Net. The technology behind the system was originally developed in the U.S. by Trisenx and has been adapted by Telewest researchers to create the “scent dome”—a cartridge containing 20 basic aromas, which can be combined to produce up to 60 discrete scents.

The scent dome plugs into the recipient’s PC and the sender includes a message to the dome as to which scent it should release (roses, spearmint, coffee, etc.). “Our sense of smell is directly connected to our emotions,” says anthropologist Kate Fox, director of the Social Issues Research Centre in Oxford. “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.” But the experience wouldn’t come cheap—Telewest says its “scent dome” could cost around $250 and would require broadband connectivity.

BBC News 19 Feb 2004

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