Scientists working on smell-device for games

Written by Joe Martin

April 28, 2009 | 11:49

Tags: #birmingham #input #output #scent #science #smell

Companies: #birmingham-university

While the actual completion of the project may be a long, long way away we do have to admit we're still very excited by the news that a team of researchers is working on a device that will allow gamers to experience the smells of their games.

The project has been launched at Birmingham University and apparently aims to provide users with context-sensitive scents that match up to in-game actions, such as the whiff of gunpowder or the stink of burning alien corpses. Um, yay?

The engineers have, according to DevelopMag been partially founded by the UK Ministry of Defence, who no doubt have some sinister application of the technology in mind, such as being able to tell when an enemy camp is struck by dysentery. Or, more likely, the device will be used in virtual training exercises.

While there aren't a huge amount of details on the initial work of the research group, it seems like the current design will use a system of scented paraffin waxes to simulate the in-game odours.

So, the question is then, what games would you actually like to smell? The idea of sniffing the smelling salts and ear-bacon in Psychonauts sounds interesting, but it's games like Cooking Mama that might really benefit from the system. It would probably be best to steer clear of games like Doom or Quake.

Would you be interested in smelling your virtual foes? Let us know in the forums.
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