Browsing by Smell
A group of researchers at the University of Glasglow (Scotland), has been testing the theory that users can search through their own digital photo collections by smell to find specific images. The users first attach specific smells to each image, e.g., chocolate, dirty socks, freshly cut grass. Then they are asked to find a specific image — using their sense of smell. Although there have been some issues along the way, i.e., creating the smell, they have found that it is possible. It’s slower than finding images using tags or keywords, but has provided enough incentive for the researchers to continue to work in this area.
This sounded a little off-beat to me until I read this from the lead researcher, Stephen Brewster:
The ability to search by smell is perhaps not surprising, Brewster says, when you consider the way a smell can evoke powerful memories.
Maybe there is a place for this.