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Writing in Scents

A smell-based alphabet
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(+4, -2)
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There was experiment done a few months ago in which people tried to follow a chocolate-scented string using only their sense of smell. They found, among other things, that they got better at it after practice and could do it much faster. So, I think that it would be possible to develop a form of writing based entirely on scents.

There wouldn't really be much purpose for it, except for maybe training your sense of smell and perhaps coding information. One could establish a set of easily distinguishable scents, each representing a letter, and put them on a piece of paper, or some other unscented surface, in a liquid form.

Writing would be tedious, though one could create a typwriter or printer for doing that. People have already been able to convert normal printers into machines that would make heart tissues, so why not ones that will convert letters into scents?

If you wanted to include capital letters, numerals, punctuation, or other special charachters, you might have to start pairing scents, or else it would be very difficult to learn, due to similarities in scents, although it would be faster and require less space.

apocalyps956, Jun 26 2007

Felis Sapiens http://en.wikipedia.../wiki/Felis_sapiens
//They use their scent to read books and have two hundred and forty six smell symbols in their lexicon and can be broken down into smaller smells which altered the meaning of the smell. Dave Lister's T-shirt contained a sentence about a fearful, very bad estate agent going to a noxious toilet. Lister can read a cat-authored Dick and Jane early primer by strongly sniffing the pages, but relies on Holly to translate more complicated works, like the Cat Bible.// [zen_tom, Jun 27 2007]

Experiment Mentioned http://www.berkeley.../12/18_scents.shtml
following chocolate-scented string [apocalyps956, Jun 28 2007]

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       How would anyone be able to differentiate between 200 occurences of 27 conflicting smells, let alone their order, and remember which ones correspond to which letters? [-]
theleopard, Jun 27 2007

       In an early episode of Red Dwarf, The Cat People are shown to have developed an entirely smell-based alphabet and literature. Later on, I might be able to find a link to the episode in question...
zen_tom, Jun 27 2007

       Humans simply aren't equipped for such subelty - a dog finds a dumpster to be a rich bouquet of data while a human can only say that it stinks.
nuclear hobo, Jun 27 2007

       I expect humans are capable of distinguishing between 27 different smells with a bit of practice (which is one of the purposes of this idea).   

       The resolution is an issue though as you'd probably have to print at about 0.2spi (smells per inch) in order to differentiate. Even a sonnet would take up quite a substantial area.   

       Maybe one for the Turbine Hall at Tate Modern?
wagster, Jun 27 2007

       This is cool because you could train dogs to read for you.
phundug, Jun 27 2007

       Make sure none of your words are smelled wrong.
phundug, Jun 27 2007

       Much more interesting to dispense with the paper completely and communicate entirely with odors.
nuclear hobo, Jun 27 2007

       I'm more concerned about how we're going to handle fonts and punctuation. And just imagine the pedants.
normzone, Jun 27 2007

       Did you hear about the comic strip written entirely in scents?   

       It smells funny.
phundug, Jun 27 2007

       i know the word for word is word when writing like this, but how would you spell odour in odours?
TIB, Jun 28 2007


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