ISMAR 2018
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Kasun karunanayaka, Sharon Kalu Joseph Ufere, Surina Hariri, Hanis Camelia, and Adrian David Cheok. Electric smell: towards artificially reproducing smell sensations for future ar and multisensory internet. IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics (To appear), 2018.


Artificially reproducing smell sensations, without using odorants, will change the future of augmented reality as well as multisensory communication. This paper presents the first computer controlled digital technology, that can be used to electrically stimulate human olfactory receptors. This device generates rectangular shaped pulses with different currents (1--5 mA), frequencies (0--30 kHz), and duty cycles (0--100\\%). We tested this device with human subjects by electrically stimulating their middle and inferior nasal concha regions. Randomized stimulations in a range between current and frequency from 1--5 mA and 2--180 Hz were used and the corresponding sensations induced by the electrical stimulations were recorded. About 27\\% of participants reported chemical and fragrant smells while 20\\% reported fruity and sweet smells for 1 mA at 70 Hz. For 1 mA at 10 Hz, 27\\% of participants reported sweet smells, while 20\\% reported chemical smell sensations. Furthermore, the stimulation at 1mA and 70Hz generated statistically significant non-olfactory sensations such as tingling and pressure (p = 0.03, 0.04). Participants reported less perceived intensity for sensing five different smells after the electrical stimulation. Results obtained from this study suggest that electrical stimulation can either reproduce or modify smell sensations, which merits further investigations in this area. We believe that findings of this paper will be useful for developing a digital technology to reproduce and modify smell sensations. This could make significant improvements in future AR applications such as multisensory entertainment, gaming, remote dining, and internet shopping. The key novelties of this paper include: 1) development of the first computer controlled digital device for stimulating the human olfactory receptors, 2) Testing this new technology on human subjects including the parameters that were not previously tested, 3) Recording the intensities for 22 types of sensations (smell-related and non-smell-related) that could be produced by the electrical stimulation.