Facebook PixelDoes smell recording technology have a future?
Brainstorming
Brainstorming
Create new
EverythingEverything
Sessions onlySessions only
Ideas onlyIdeas only
Brainstorming session

Does smell recording technology have a future?

Image credit: https://communicationolfactive.files.wordpress.com/2016/03/9954_24.jpg

Loading...
Povilas S
Povilas S Dec 04, 2020
4
Creative contributions

Physical differences in receptors indicate greater accuracy of "electrical approach"

Loading...
JK
Juran K. Dec 04, 2020

[1]C. Trimmer, A. Keller, N. R. Murphy, L. L. Snyder, J. R. Willer, M. H. Nagai, N. Katsanis, L. B. Vosshall, H. Matsunami, J. D. Mainland. Genetic variation across the human olfactory receptor repertoire alters odor perception. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2019; 201804106 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1804106115

Loading...
Povilas S
Povilas Sa month ago
Thanks for your contribution and pointing out this issue:) There are few important things to note here. The same smell perceived differently by different people would be an issue to solve in a context when someone would try to transmit a perception of a particular smell to another person to let them know how exactly they perceive it. This is not really what smell recording is about. That’s more of a technologically achieved telepathy you are talking about. There would be differences in perception of recorded smells just like there are differences in naturally perceived smells. Smell recording is about preserving scents so that one could experience them later, just instead of using solvents and other chemical means, the technology would be more sophisticated and could be used in a more quick and convenient manner. Just like you’d pluck petals of a particular species of wild rose and dry them or make rose water in order to preserve the fragrance and later give it for your friend to smell. It wouldn’t mean that your friend and you would perceive the smell in the same manner, but that’s not what this is about. Different people might perceive colors of the same picture differently, but photo technology is about making pictures, not letting people perceive them in the same way.

Also, electrical approach might seem more precise and subjectivity-removing at first, but when you think about it better, it’s actually even more complicated. In order to achieve precision, you’d have to stimulate each of hundreds of receptors individually and maybe even more than that, because I believe the same receptor might send different bioelectrical signals. That is very hard to achieve technologically. Of course, it’s not that precision with the chemical approach is easy to achieve, but in the case of electrical approach, you’d have to do a double job, because you’d have to correlate the electrical signals with particular smells and therefore with particular chemicals because those are what activates the receptors in the natural process. I mean how would you achieve the correlation between particular smells and particular electrical signals otherwise? By trying random impulses and questioning what the person is perceiving? The latter would be super abstract and subjective. To record the smell, chemical molecules would have to be involved anyway and then they’d have to be somehow correlated with the signals, by building a large database perhaps. So subjectivity that was present in the chemical approach would stay, I mean I don’t see how electrical approach bypasses it.

As I said, what you’re talking about seems more to me like the transfer of subjective perception (which was already processed by CNS) to another person, which would be a cool thing to have, no doubt, but that’s a bit of a separate topic and a separate technology.
Loading...
JK
Juran K.a month ago
Povilas S I understand what you are talking about and I agree that the problem I was pointing out is about perception, but there is a reason for it. Although it is not the topic of the discussion, I will use visual perception as a tool to explain my flow of thoughts.

The general opinion and the main problem in visual perception is that what we see is not simply a mechanically translated retinal stimuli. I think that it could be the same with smell. When the light enters the eye, the photosensitive retinal cells receive and transduce the signal to retinal ganglion cells, and further to optic nerves and the visual cortex of the occipital lobe. That means that before any neural processing of the image (cross-talk between emotions, memories, visual cortex, and others), which I think you consider as perception, there are multiple layers where small differences in chemical or later, electrical signals can cause differences. Although it is not so well investigated as the vision, the smell could function in a similar way. And exactly because it is not explored enough, I just supposed these small differences in signal transduction could play a significant role in personal smell perception. and be diminished by using the electrical approach.

So, what I think about are some lower levels of perception, which could actually be called signal processing, not perception. By using the term "perception", I could cause a misunderstanding and I´m sorry about that.

On the other part, I completely agree the electrical approach is much more difficult in terms of receptor stimulation. What I thought about skipping by using the electrical approach was exactly that small step from the stimulus reception to conversion into an electrical signal, that could eliminate some variabilities. It doesn´t necessarily need to be measured in the nose, but anywhere in the olfactory signal transduction system (e.g. olfactory nerve). It would definitely require the development of a method to measure the electric signal after the chemical signal reception and conversion, which is the biggest challenge. It would also require a correlation of electrical patterns with certain molecules/chemicals, in addition to the molecules-smells correlations needed for both approaches. Let´s hope science can solve that soon.

List of odorless materials to build the equipment

Loading...
Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarni Dec 15, 2020
Loading...
Povilas S
Povilas Sa month ago
Good point. All materials are evaporating at a higher or lower rate, but to determine which ones "don't smell" I think we have to consider the biology of smell perception, namely the smell receptors, some materials, even if they are in the vaporized form won't react with the receptors, therefore, they won't produce smell perception.
Loading...
Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarnia month ago
Povilas S Right. I am assuming all natural smells will stimulate the receptors since humans were in contact with them at some point during the evolution. My best guess would be some synthetic material. But like I mentioned in the suggestion, I could not think of any synthetic material that does not have a smell.
Loading...
Povilas S
Povilas Sa month ago
Shubhankar Kulkarni I think many materials that we might associate with some smell are actually not triggering the perception themselves, it's rather some other, mostly organic materials that accumulate on the surface of those primary materials. It could be products of oxidation processes or the metabolites of microorganisms, etc. The most smell-inert material I can think of is glass. If it smells then I can't tell how. Maybe a powdered glass would smell, that's likely, but we barely encounter it in that form and it would also be dangerous to inhale. But ordinary glass surfaces, if they smell of something then I think it's because of something that's gathered on the surface. And this might also be true with metals, they seem to smell but this might be because of metals being reducing agents and reacting with air to form oxides. Unless we know what molecules trigger the receptors we can't say what we smell.

Photochrom equivalent for smells

Loading...
Povilas S
Povilas S Dec 04, 2020

Scent preservation as scent recording

Loading...
Povilas S
Povilas S Dec 04, 2020

Add your creative contribution

0 / 200

Added via the text editor

* Indicates a required field

By using this platform you agree to our terms of service and privacy policy.

General comments