Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Smelling aid

For the dysnomic
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(+7, -1)
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The smelling aid is like a hearing aid for the nose. An array of microscopic chemosensors continually sample the air around the wearer. This infomation is processed via a microcontroller, and then "amplified" though a smell-releasing cartridge; like a colour inkjet cartridge but containing scents. Each "dot" is a different proto-smell element. The processor blends its 20 or 30 protosmells to try to get as close as possible to the actual smell (although this would only be an approximation).

This system would allow people with reduced smell capabilites to appreciate places like gardens, delicatessens and bakeries.

8th of 7, Jun 25 2002

Details of the sense of smell http://www.news.har...99/04.08/smell.html
[pottedstu, Jun 26 2002, last modified Oct 21 2004]

(?) Electronic noses http://www.bae.ncsu...lectronic_nose.html
[pottedstu, Jun 26 2002, last modified Oct 21 2004]

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       Blissmiss: I think that was the Smelling Nose dog.
8th of 7, Jun 25 2002

       is there a large population of smelling-challenged people out there?
rbl, Jun 25 2002

       Rbl: I guess I'll know when they all come a-beating on my door, wanting to buy my SmelloBoost nose aids.
8th of 7, Jun 25 2002

       As I spend much of my time around office environment smells, I'm hoping this thing's equipped with an 'off' switch.
RayfordSteele, Jun 25 2002

       RayfordSteele: I guess you could programme it to produce pretty much any smell you wanted. You could turn it off, turn up the gain (Hey, can you smell gas ? ), or set it to "Rose Garden" or "Spring Meadow". The cartridges might have to come in different basic types like "urban" or "rural" ....
8th of 7, Jun 25 2002

       Dysnomic is, I think, having a word retrieval problem. Hyposmia, a reduced smell function, affects 0.2% of the population. Paraosmia distorts the sense of smell, maybe something for RS.
FarmerJohn, Jun 25 2002

       FarmerJohn; Many thanks for your correction. I wasn't quite sure about the correct term. Fortunately, the HalfBakery is well supplied with folk eager to correct such errors.
8th of 7, Jun 25 2002

       Human beings have 1000 different smell receptors, each responding to a different molecule, so any attempt to synthesise smell based on proto-smells would fail (short of storing 1000 different chemicals, some of which would be highly volatile or even toxic).   

       Electronic noses, as I'm sure most people are aware, exist, but they are generally only sensitive to one particular molecule or a small range of molecules, which means the detection part of this would also have serious problems. The human nose is very sensitive and complex and still ill-understood compared to other senses.
pottedstu, Jun 26 2002

       Potttedstu: Quite right: However, although the dynamic range of human hearing is 20 - 15000 Hz, the world gets by quite well on telephone lines which give a maximum 3.6 Khz bandwidth, ofthen a lot less. So this would not have the same "bandwidth" as the real nose, but it would help those who have problems. You might be able to get 100 protosmells in the cartridge.
8th of 7, Jun 26 2002

       I like the idea of minor errors. "Say, Bill, this office could do with some ventilation." "Oh, I don't know, smells like wild roses to me!" "Bill, have you run out of putrid smell capsules for your nose again?"
PeterSilly, Jun 26 2002

       Delicatessens, bakeries and halfbakeries?
Gwenanda, Jun 26 2002

       You could concentrate scents by running a large volume of air over a chilled surface, which is then heated to release the adsorbed odors into a smaller volume of air. I can't see this being too practical for portable use, with the volumes required.
pfperry, Jun 26 2002


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