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A Whiff of the Digital Future

Techstination feature for Wednesday, October 4, 2000

A whiff of the digital future. I'm Fred Fishkin with Bloomberg Bootcamp. I'd read about it before, but I just got my first smell of digitally created bananas. A company called DigiScents is creating a device that will attach to your computer to emit odors appropriate to what you see on your computer screen. Really?

"Yeah, a lot of people do say that and then they get a whiff of what we're doing and get a feel for what we're doing." Literally.. "Literally, and the reaction has just been overwhelming."

DigiScents Director of Business Development Mike Smith. The iSmell technology, honest to goodness that's what it's called, won't be on the market until the third quarter of next year and the device should cost between one and two hundred dollars. But the prototype I got to sniff... produced a banana smell when I clicked on a bunch on the screen... and a rose smell when I clicked on flowers. The applications planned...

"We think what's really going to drive the proliferation of the device and people buying the device is having people add to an immersive experience in the interactive game space. So let's say you're playing a game where it's a racing car and you get the smell of burning rubber. We feel like that's just going to add to the experience or you're playing a game where the prize is grabbing a banana and getting the smell of the banana or the smell of the strawberry."

Does the idea stink? Or will DigiScents be rewarded with the sweet smell of success? Time will tell. You can find us on the Web at Bootcamp, I'm Fred Fishkin, Bloomberg News.