[00:00.00]Would you buy a car that released calming smells into the air when you are stuck in heavy traffic?
[00:07.61]Would you buy a robot that smells like a human being?
[00:12.55]Scientists suggest that new technology means people will soon be using devices like these in their daily lives.
[00:22.54]The British Science Festival took place recently in Brighton, England.
[00:29.36]At the event, researchers from the University of Sussex demonstrated some of the technology that might be coming soon.
[00:39.58]Many people have seen the three-dimensional computer-made environments of virtual reality, known as VR.
[00:49.90]Now these virtual worlds will not just look and sound real.
[00:55.39]Researchers have created VR environments that even smell like the real thing.
[01:02.71]With the new technology, users open a virtual door and step into a new environment, like a rainforest.
[01:13.97]After they enter this virtual world, special equipment releases forest-like smells into the air to make the experience seem more real.
[01:26.01]Suzanne Fisher-Murray saw the technology being demonstrated at the British Science Festival.
[01:33.48]She told VOA, “It is a really immersive experience that you have because you’re exploring this environment and you have smells … with it.”
[01:45.03]Smell technology has been tried in the past.
[01:49.03]In the United States, Smell-O-Vision was designed to provide smells during the showing of a movie.
[01:57.90]The Smell-O-Vision system was briefly popular in the 1960s.
[02:03.31]Now, University of Sussex researcher Emanuela Maggioni says it is close to becoming popular again.
[02:12.99]“The connection with emotions, memories, and … the sense of smell,” Maggioni said.
[02:20.49]“It is incredible what we can do with technology.”
[02:24.52]The uses for smell technology are not just limited to films and the performing arts.
[02:33.11]Researchers also demonstrated a computer program where users could imagine themselves driving a car.
[02:41.23]The system included a special smell-spraying device.
[02:46.73]Dmitrijs Dmitrenko is one of the researchers working on this project.
[02:53.16]“In this demonstration,” he said, “we wanted to deliver the smell of lavender every time the driver exceeds the speed limit.
[03:04.22]We chose lavender because it’s a very calming smell.”
[03:08.74]Scientists are experimenting with using smell instead of sounds or image-based alerts on telecommunications equipment.
[03:19.64]And businesses are already using smell to influence people’s behavior.
[03:26.15]“Not only … in stores ... But on the other side, you can create and stimulate impulse buying,” Maggioni said.
[03:36.33]“So you’re in a library and you smell coffee and actually you are unconsciously having the need to drink a coffee.”
[03:45.77]She adds that the sense of smell is important in human communication and relationships.
[03:53.17]For example, when men smell tears, it reduces levels of testosterone, a natural hormone in their bodies.
[04:03.14]Men then show greater feelings of understanding with other people.
[04:09.03]That natural process has uses in new technology, Maggioni says.
[04:15.83]For example, she believes it could help people trust robots more if the robots smelled like humans.
[04:24.68]I’m Pete Musto.