Smelly Computers Add Atmosphere to Workplace

Forget to splash on some cologne this morning? No problem - just choose an aromatic scent from the Internet and stay close to your computer. Office getting a little stuffy on a hot summer day? Kick on the cool scent of an evergreen forest and close your eyes.

The office may never smell the same again thanks to the efforts of California-based DigiScents, a company that plans to bring smells to computer users via the RealPlayer program.

Scents are transmitted through a speaker-sized computer peripheral device called iSmell, which is attached to a serial or USB port on the computer and plugs into a standard electrical outlet. The iSmell emits naturally-based vapors into the user's personal space. The device is triggered either by user activation (like a mouse click) or a timed response (as is the case with a DVD ScentTrack).

DigiScents' co-founders Joel Bellenson and Dexster Smith got the idea for DigiScents while vacationing in Florida. While savoring the flavors of tropical drinks, the fragrance of suntan lotion, and the soothing aroma of the ocean, they imagined broadcasting these scents over the Internet for others to enjoy.

The new technology, called aromagenomics, will be available in the spring of 2001 and will no doubt be available on your desktop soon thereafter. The company is partnering with various web sites to scent-enable the Internet. DigiScents' scents can be added to flash technology presentations and to websites in minutes.

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