Scientists Praise Developments in Smell Technology
Would you buy a car that released calming smells into the air when you are stuck in heavy traffic?
Would you buy a robot that smells like a human being?
Scientists suggest that new technology means people will soon be using devices like these in their daily lives.
The British Science Festival took place recently in Brighton, England. At the event, researchers from the University of Sussex demonstrated some of the technology that might be coming soon.
Many people have seen the three-dimensional computer-made environments of virtual reality, known as VR. Now these virtual worlds will not just look and sound real. Researchers have created VR environments that even smell like the real thing.
With the new technology, users open a virtual door and step into a new environment, like a rainforest. After they enter this virtual world, special equipment releases forest-like smells into the air to make the experience seem more real.
Suzanne Fisher-Murray saw the technology being demonstrated at the British Science Festival. She told VOA, "It is a really immersive experience that you have because you're exploring this environment and you have smells ... with it."
Smell technology has been tried in the past. In the United States, Smell-O-Vision was designed to provide smells during the showing of a movie. The Smell-O-Vision system was briefly popular in the 1960s. Now, University of Sussex researcher Emanuela Maggioni says it is close to becoming popular again.
"The connection with emotions, memories, and ... the sense of smell," Maggioni said. "It is incredible what we can do with technology."
The uses for smell technology are not just limited to films and the performing arts. Researchers also demonstrated a computer program where users could imagine themselves driving a car.
The system included a special smell-spraying device. Dmitrijs Dmitrenko is one of the researchers working on this project.
"In this demonstration," he said, "we wanted to deliver the smell of lavender every time the driver exceeds the speed limit. We chose lavender because it's a very calming smell."
Scientists are experimenting with using smell instead of sounds or image-based alerts on telecommunications equipment. And businesses are already using smell to influence people's behavior.
"Not only ... in stores ... But on the other side, you can create and stimulate impulse buying," Maggioni said. "So you're in a library and you smell coffee and actually you are unconsciously having the need to drink a coffee."
She adds that the sense of smell is important in human communication and relationships. For example, when men smell tears, it reduces levels of testosterone, a natural hormone in their bodies. Men then show greater feelings of understanding with other people.
That natural process has uses in new technology, Maggioni says. For example, she believes it could help people trust robots more if the robots smelled like humans.
I'm Pete Musto.
1.stuck in 陷入
Their lorry got stuck in the mud.
2.heavy traffic 交通拥堵
The clamour of the heavy traffic gave you a headache.
3.virtual reality 虚拟现实
One day virtual reality will revolutionize the entertainment industry.
4.the speed limit 限速
He accepts he was exceeding the speed limit.
5.The British Science Festival took place recently in Brighton, England.
took place 发生
The interview took place on a Friday afternoon.
Another dust-up took place in the teahouse.
6.With the new technology, users open a virtual door and step into a new environment, like a rainforest.
step into 进入
Now that Chris is gone she wants me to step into his shoes.
At a certain age, it's not viable for men to take a backward step into unskilled work.
英国科学节近日在布赖顿举办 。来自萨塞克斯大学的研究人员在本次活动中展示了一些即将面世的新科技 。
很多人早已见识过计算机制造的三维虚拟现实环境（虚拟现实） 。现在虚拟世界将不只是看起来、听起来真实 。研究人员创建的虚拟现实环境甚至闻起来都像真的 。
随着新技术的发展，用户打开虚拟的大门，进入一处新环境，比如雨林 。他们进入虚拟世界后，特殊设备会释放出森林般的气味，让用户体验更加真实 。
苏珊娜·费舍尔·穆雷（Suzanne Fisher-Murray）参观了英国科学节上展示的这一技术 。她告诉美国之音，“这是一次身临其境的体验，因为你在探索环境时还能嗅到它的气味 。”
过去，嗅觉技术进行了测试 。在美国，嗅觉电影就是在放映期间提供气味 。嗅觉电影系统在上世纪60年代十分火爆 。萨塞克斯大学的研究人员埃马努埃拉·马乔尼表示，如今，嗅觉技术或将再次流行 。
马吉奥尼说“将感情、回忆与嗅觉结合起来 。我们利用技术做到的事情如此不可思议 。”
嗅觉技术的应用不仅仅局限于电影和表演艺术 。研究人员还演示了用户可想象自己驾驶汽车的电脑程序 。
该系统包括一个特殊的喷淋装置 。德米特里杰斯·德米特连科（Dmitrijs Dmitrenko）是该项目的研究人员之一 。
他说，“在演示过程中，一旦司机超速，我们都会释放出薰衣草的香味 。之所以选择薰衣草是因为这种气味可以令人镇静下来 。”
科学家们正在尝试利用嗅觉代替以声音或图像为基础的通讯设备警报 。一些企业开始利用气味影响人们的行为 。
她还指出，嗅觉在人类交往和人际关系中尤为重要 。例如，当男性闻到眼泪的味道时，其体内的天然荷尔蒙（睾丸素）的水平会降低 。此时，男性会更加理解他人 。
马吉奥尼说，这个自然过程可以应用到新技术 。例如，她相信，机器人身上有人类的味道，有助于提升人们信任的力度 。