From the Really Silly Ideas That May Catch On So I Better Not Be Too Rude About It Dept, here’s word of a device that will deliver you scented emails. Sort of.
The BBC (via the USC Annenberg Online Journalism Review) reports that British Internet provider Telewest Broadband is testing an air freshener that is designed to spray the smell linked to a email message. So you plug the “scent dome” (no, really) which will contain 20 basic smells that can combine to give 60 scents (no, really) and hey presto! the email will trigger the odor.
Chad Raube, director of Internet services at Telewest Broadband, said the obvious, according to the Beeb: “This could bring an extra whiff of realism to the Internet.”
Actually, this is whiff of realism: Telewest reckons the dome will cost around £250 ($474 U.S.) and will only work with a high-speed, broadband connection.
Daftness aside, this could be a good idea. Wouldn’t it be great to market smells you really miss? Your mom’s baking, new-mown hay, marzipan, your old roommate’s socks? Or to be able to send a smell to your doctor to gauge the gangrenous state of a festering wound without having to arrange a visit to the clinic? Or the bouquet of a wine you’re thinking of ordering over the Internet?