Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Smell-to-Voice Translator

Help those poor fools who can't smell anything...
  [vote for,

So, there exists voice-to-text for the deaf, text-to-voice for the blind, and a garden variety of other handicap remedies, but what about those with anosmia, the inability to smell? Recent advancements have been made to understand how the olfactory system distinguishes smells, and how protien binding in the nasal cavity provides the necessary specificity to detect all the various smells. It seems only reasonable that the process could be crudely mechanized.

Enter the Smell-to-Voice translator. Activated by a simple command: "what's that smell?", it voices back the general aromatic terms... even anosmiacs from birth will get something back from the infomation: "this smells like a dead cat"... different models harbor their own vernacular...

Some might think the technology worthless. hearing about a smell is nothing like smelling it... but the anosmiacs will tell you "hey, its better than nothing"... Plus, the devise could be hooked up to detect all sorts of things that the normal olfactory system can't detect: carbon monoxide, asbestos, etc.

daseva, Jul 01 2004

Device for the blind to identify colors http://www.brytech....lorteller/index.htm
[xclamp, Oct 05 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]


       //Enter the Smell-to-Voice translator. Activated by a simple command: "what's that smell?", it voices back the general aromatic terms... //   

       "smells like fishbone."   

       why not just have a random phrase generator. "stinks" "doesn't stink" "smells like roses" they won't know the damn difference anyways.
xclamp, Jul 01 2004

       mindless critisism... tasty!
daseva, Jul 01 2004

       Useful if you're both blind and smellless and you need to check the bottoms of your shoes. "What's that smell?" "Rubber." "What's that smell?" "Canine waste." "Dang!"
phundug, Jul 01 2004

       Should come in the shape of a canary in a cage.
DrCurry, Jul 01 2004

       [-] //Activated by a simple command: "what's that smell?"//   

       Too bad the sans-olfactory person won't know that there's a smell to be smelled, therefore won't know when to ask such a question.
Pocketassreturn, Jul 01 2004

       [pocketassreturn], for the most part,They will know when a smell is around, except for the S.B.D.'s... Food on the plate, checking for the spoilage of milk, lurking in the basement, etc...   

       [Braubeaton], great link, very informative.
daseva, Jul 02 2004

       I'm with [xclamp].
The inventions for the deaf and blind serve a functional purpose. Until the very last line of your idea, yours doesn't.
yabba do yabba dabba, Jul 02 2004

       Except for the potential to warn of hazardous but odourless gases, this idea serves no real purpose. You may as well create a color-to-voice translator for the blind-since-birth.   

       since gas detectors are baked and widely known to exist (I've seen color-change carbon monoxide detectors in just about every small plane I've ever been in), I have to say: smells like fishbone.
Freefall, Jul 02 2004

       Only argument I have is,   

       color-to-voice is worthless for the blind-since-birth, because there is no context for color. However, smells can be put in a variety of contexts, such as "smells like a dead cat", which, for the smelless-since-birth, can think about a dead cat, and get an idea of the horrible nature of the smell... or, in general, smells "fresh" or "rotten", surely they will appreciate these tidbits, differentiating their surroundings based on these vague contexts.
daseva, Jul 02 2004

       //color-to-voice is worthless for the blind-since-birth//   

       they actually have color to voice translators so that blind persons can match their clothes independently, so it's not 'worthless', it's worth is context specific.   

       for the smell-to-voice translator to be useful, at least in my opinion, it needs a context such as some that you named like warning of danger, for example 'fresh' or 'spoiled' food.   

       as for the use of similes like "smells like a dead cat", not even those with smell need to be told that death has a stench, shit has a stench, flowers are pleasant smelling etc. this knowledge can be acquired without direct experience equally as well.   

       so as a warning or safety device i would bun this, but out of that context i don't see its usefulness.
xclamp, Jul 02 2004

       I have a friend whose allergies are so bad she has little to no sense of smell. She is also a lousy housekeeper, and leaves the cat food cans in the open garbage and unground foods in the garbage disposal, (insinkerator) Frequently her house has serious housitosis and I have to go on a treasure hunt to find the offending cause. She is oblivious. This machine, if it could alarm that there is an odor, would be a help.
dentworth, Jul 03 2004

       yeah, I agree that those who have never smelled anything won't be able to make a connection between the "text" and that thing it refers to.   

       Even if they could... it would be quite hard to find the "poets" to determine what is to be said after each enquiry.
Pericles, Jul 04 2004

       I've had no smell for years. I wouldn't want the smell to text converter, but a fart warning device - maybe a variable frequency vibration - would be good. Just something that would differentiate between harmless methane/CO2, tolerable, and leave vicinity immediately.
britseye, Jul 05 2004

       (A thought: unless both blind & smellless, there no need for the speech function - right?)   

       For all of you fishbone throwers, try to date an anosmic person. God knows I did; this was an unpleasent experience. Of course, I haven't seen (or smelt) the poor girl ever again after our first date.   

       To sum it up, what anosmic people really need is a self-smeller. I'll give a croissant because we, as a sociaty, might benefit from such a device.
shibolim, Jul 05 2004


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