Delivering different scents to drivers to indicate danger or points of interest could be the next task for cars' on-board computers, say British-based researchers. Jim Drury has more.
You've heard of Satnav.....one day your car could be fitted with 'Smellnav'. Sussex University researchers have rigged up a scent delivery system to this driving simulator. Whenever the simulator's program spots a certain landmark or traffic incident, fragrance is released. SOUNDBITE (English) DR EMANUELA MAGGIONI, POSTDOCTORAL RESEARCHER, EXPERIMENTAL PSYCHOLOGIST AT SCHI LAB, SUSSEX UNIVERSITY, SAYING: "We can deliver smell when you are approaching a point of interest or to inform you that you are low in gas or had important information coming from the car, like you have like some problems with the engine in the car or you need to slow down for instance." SOUNDBITE (English) DMITRIJS DMITRENKO, ENGINEERING PHD STUDENT AT SCHI LAB, SUSSEX UNIVERSITY AND FORMER AUTOMOTIVE WORKER, SAYING: "We are exploring arousing and soothing smells. Arousing smells are for instance lemon and peppermint. And soothing smells - lavender, vanilla, rose these are the smells we are working with. And we are trying to map these smells to different informative messages we could get while driving." Volunteers are asked to choose which available smell best fits each warning. SOUNDBITE (English) DMITRIJS DMITRENKO, ENGINEERING PHD STUDENT AT SCHI LAB, SUSSEX UNIVERSITY AND FORMER AUTOMOTIVE WORKER, SAYING: "We have noticed that the level of how arousing the smell is often matches the importance of the message and the more alerting or important the message is the more arousing smell users tend to select for this kind of message." The team is working on the optimal distance between driver and fragrance pump - and the best levels of smell dilution. The concept, called Owidget, could also be used in gaming or text message delivery. But the first priority is to test the device in a real car on the road....helping drivers follow their nose while navigating journeys.