Currently, smell is almost impossible to convey digitally — but this is all expected to change. We may have all but lost our understanding of fragrances. Modern people use deodorant to conceal their body odors, and traffic exhaust fumes in our bustling megacities make us numb to olfactory sensations. We may even think of our noses just as a place to put our glasses, or as a reminder that we have caught a cold.
The experience of watching any type of video would feel more immersive if you could smell the action. In 2030, 56 percent expect to be able to digitally savor all the smells in films they watch. Although there have been attempts to incorporate scent during films as far back as the early 1960s, their failure to gain popularity have likely been due to a lack of effective technology rather than of popular interest.
Given our shallow acquaintance with many of the world’s aromas, it also seems consumers are open for innovation in this field, with 47 percent expecting smell data to be available for companies to use commercially. At least for now, many don’t see the need to keep their digital smell private.
Finally, this technology doesn’t have to cause a stink — we will be able to avoid bad smells whenever we choose, with more than half expecting a device that digitally transforms stinky smells into nice fragrances in their noses. Almost half also expect to be able to control how they smell to others, using digital perfume and deodorants.